Cessna Aircraft and the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic), this morning, are expected to give more details of their plans to begin joint production of business jets in China. The two companies are holding a press conference here at the ABACE show in Shanghai, following last Friday’s signing of two strategic agreements in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
One agreement involves Cessna, Avic Aviation Technologies Co. (AAT) and the Chengdu government, and calls for the three parties to enter into negotiations toward establishing a joint venture for production of midsize Cessna business jets, as well as potentially developing a new business jet.
The second agreement is aimed at jointly developing general aviation businesses in China, including the establishment of an aircraft service network. The partners plan to launch the joint venture companies called for in the second agreement “within the next year,” according to Cessna.
“China recognizes general aviation offers the foundation to support its national air transportation needs for the future,” said Scott Ernest, Cessna president and CEO. “These agreements will help take the industry to the next level.”
Details of the agreements “are still under discussion,” according to a Cessna spokeswoman, but their aims are ambitious. “The agreements together pave the way for a range of business jets, utility single-engine turboprops and single-engine piston aircraft to be manufactured and certified in China,” the spokeswoman said.
Cessna Citation jets to be produced in Chengdu and sold in China include the Sovereign, currently in production in Wichita, Kansas; and the midsize Latitude, launched last October. The Sovereign will continue to be built in Wichita for markets outside China, as will the Latitude once production begins. As per the agreement, Cessna is currently working with Avic to develop a new business jet.
Earlier this month, Cessna achieved a first flight for the Citation M2, the next-generation version of its Mustang light jet. Created to compete with Embraer’s Phenom 100, the M2 features a 400-knot maximum cruise speed and 1,300-nm range. Expected to enter service in the second half of 2013, the M2 is designed to fill the gap between the Mustang and the Citation CJ family. The Citation Mustang will remain in production.