Cessna confirmed yesterday that it now holds purchase agreements for no less than 160 of the Citation Mustang jet that it unveiled here at NBAA on Tuesday. It has collected $10,000 deposits for the new $2.295 million light jet.
“To date, all major milestones have been completed on or ahead of schedule,” noted Cessna Citation Sovereign senior product director Brad Thress. “This week’s NBAA Convention is the Sovereign’s first public appearance, and we are proud to show it with a completed interior and exterior.”
Hawker Beechcraft delivered the first super-midsize Hawker 4000 to launch customers Gary and Donna Hall during a ceremony yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Wichita. The event marked the end of a long and arduous path for the aircraft manufacturer, which launched the Hawker Horizon, since renamed the Hawker 4000, program at the NBAA Convention in 1996 and originally expected certification and first deliveries in spring 2001.
Hawker Beechcraft this week received full FAA type approval, in addition to production certification, for its Hawker 4000 super-midsize business jet–a milestone it expected more than seven years ago when the jet was launched in 1996. A spokesman told AIN that shipments will begin “very soon,” and a formal delivery event for the undisclosed launch customer is now being planned.
Eclipse Aviation, the Albuquerque, N.M. company that premiered its Eclipse 500 twinjet in March 2000, said it has secured a launch customer that may make its dreams of solvency a reality.
Deliveries of new business jets continue to grow despite the slow economy and, according to Honeywell’s 10th annual business aviation outlook, the market will remain healthy in the near term with purchase expectations up in all regions.
As of press time, Raytheon Aircraft (RAC) chose not to comment on the effect on its Travel Air fractional-ownership program from the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. A company spokesman did say that RAC had decided not to participate in the rescheduled NBAA Convention to be held in New Orleans on December 12, 13 and 14.
Hawker Beechcraft reported continued strong sales in the first quarter, though costs associated with Hawker 4000 certification and delivery delays resulted in the Wichita aircraft manufacturer posting a $1.5 million loss for the period. The company reported net bookings of $1.1 billion during the three-month span, resulting in a record backlog of $6.8 billion.
The Premier I and Hawker Horizon programs were already far behind schedule when Hansel Tookes, 53, became chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft in August 2000. These programs were plagued by further delays under Tookes’ command, although the Premier I finally received certification on March 23 last year.
Hawker Beechcraft announced the long-awaited upgrade of the Premier light jet yesterday evening, highlighting improvements in range, time to climb, maximum altitude, payload and top speed. The company will continue producing the Premier IA after the Premier II is certified in the first quarter of 2010 and begins deliveries in the second quarter.