Cessna Aircraft and the Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic) signed “two strategic agreements to jointly develop general and business aviation in the People’s Republic of China” today. In an announcement broad on concept and thin on detail, Cessna said, “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.”
Unanswered at original posting time were AIN’s questions about which models will be built in China and on what timetable, and what the effects will be on aircraft manufacturing in Wichita. Later this afternoon, a Cessna spokeswoman told AIN, “The details of our agreements are still under discussion, therefore we do not have an anticipated date to provide regarding timing of first completed aircraft coming off the line. Aircraft to be produced in Chengdu and sold in China include the Sovereign and Latitude. We will also work in cooperation to develop a new business jet. We remain committed to production of Citations in Kansas. In fact, thanks to the ongoing support and highly skilled workforce we have decided the Latitude will be produced here in Wichita for sale in all markets outside China.”
The Cessna press release continued: “The first agreement between Avic and Cessna/Textron is an overarching agreement between these companies that is intended to lead to the formation of joint ventures that will pursue various activities pertaining to the development of general aviation businesses in China, including the establishment of an aircraft service network in China. The second is a specific cooperation agreement [among] Cessna Aircraft Company, Avic Aviation Techniques Co. Ltd. (AAT) and the Chengdu government to enter into negotiations to establish a joint venture to produce midsize Cessna business jet models, as well as a potential new product for the business jet market. Within the next year, Cessna and Avic are seeking to launch joint-venture companies which will focus on implementing the initial phase of the strategic agreements.”
Scott Ernest, Cessna president and CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to be entering into these strategic agreements. China’s market potential is tremendous and therefore represents an exciting opportunity for Cessna. China recognizes general aviation offers the foundation to support its national air transportation needs for the future. These agreements will help take the industry to the next level.”
This article was updated at 4:15 p.m. with Cessna’s response to AIN’s original questions.