Following what was described on May 2 as the retirement of 52-year-old Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton, Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly headed to Wichita to take charge of day-to-day operations at the 84-year-old aircraft manufacturer. At press time, Textron had not named a permanent replacement to take the helm at Cessna.
As Providence, R.I.-based Textron labors to reduce its debt and the size of Textron Financial (its unprofitable financial arm) it is looking to its other businesses– Cessna Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Textron Systems, and those in its industrial group–to bring the parent corporation back on the road to profitability.
Even with the current economic entropy, Cessna remains on track to deliver 470 new jets this year and is forging ahead full-speed with its new aircraft development programs.
“We are not backing off on any of our investments or development,” Cessna CEO Jack Pelton said at a press conference yesterday. He cited lessons Cessna learned during the economic downturn of 2001 to 2003 as the chief reason why.
Cessna Aircraft has added two new models to its single-engine aircraft line, following last month’s purchase of bankrupt Columbia Aircraft, a Bend, Ore.-based producer of high-performance, all-composite piston singles. The aircraft formerly known as the Columbia 350 and 400 models will now be called the Cessna 350 and 400.
Cessna Aircraft broadened its single-engine aircraft line yesterday after the company submitted the winning $26.4 million bid for bankrupt Columbia Aircraft, a Bend, Ore.-based producer of high-performance, all-composite piston singles. The Wichita manufacturer disclosed at the NBAA Convention in September that it had signed a letter of intent to buy Columbia, though the bankrupt airframer still had to be formally auctioned.
Cessna’s intended acquisition of Bend, Ore.-based Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing, announced late in September, will complement Cessna’s latest piston-engine development, the next-generation piston (NGP). Not much is known about the NGP; Cessna showed the all-composite high-wing, which is in flight test, at the 2006 EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., but only by flying it over the airfield, thereby denying attendees a close-up look.
Cessna Aircraft signed a letter of intent (LOI) yesterday with Columbia Aircraft of Bend, Ore., to acquire selected assets and certain liabilities of the manufacturer of low-wing, high-performance piston airplanes. In conjunction with the LOI, Columbia filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.