The stock market is on the upswing, initial public offerings were up this year for the first time since 2000 and the business aviation industry is recovering, but finding investment capital continues to be the biggest obstacle for companies hoping to bring new turbine business airplanes to the market. And for good reason–the last start-up company to build, certify and deliver a business jet was Learjet in 1964.
The first Citation Mustang conforming prototype got its wings on the morning of February 3. Workers at Cessna’s Pawnee facility in Wichita mated the wing to the fuselage in a process that took less than 20 minutes, according to the company.
If the days of the family-owned and -operated FBO are a thing of the past, somebody forgot to tell Bill Christiansen and his sons, Bryan and Ken. On any given day, all three can be found hard at work at Christiansen Jet Center, a successful FBO at Richard L. Jones Airport (RVS), about eight miles south of downtown Tulsa.
After a difficult year in 2003, Brazil’s largest executive charter company, TAM Taxi Aéreo Marília, saw better times last year, when its revenues increased to Real 105 million ($39.4 million)–up 15 percent from the previous year–with help from a recovery in the local economy. The increase in revenues was a result of growing demand on all fronts, including maintenance, aircraft sales and executive charter.
Cessna recently signed a ground-lease agreement at Williams Gateway Airport, Mesa, Ariz., possibly for the eventual development of a Citation Service Center. But, while Cessna confirms it has signed a lease for 11.7 acres of land at the airport, the company hasn’t disclosed what, or even if, it will build there.
For its first major new product since being purchased last year by a team headed by Elling Halvorson, Soloy is developing a more powerful follow-on to its 420-shp Allison turboprop conversion for Cessna 206s.
Describing last year as a “turnaround” for the industry, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) last month credited both the bonus depreciation allowance and the growing U.S. economy for changing what had been forecast
to be a year of stabilization into one of industry growth.
Cessna anticipates that its Model 680 Citation Sovereign super-midsize business jet will receive full type certification before the end of next month. On Christmas Eve the new aircraft received provisional certification, with flight into known icing the only major outstanding approval still pending. Cessna reports orders for about 100 aircraft.
Cessna and its parent, Textron, rallied quickly to support president and CEO Jack Pelton’s credentials in the wake of a damaging 60 Minutes segment that aired last month. The CBS show mentioned that Pelton was among thousands who essentially purchased college degrees from an alleged diploma mill, specifically Hamilton University in Evanston, Wyo.
The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through third-quarter deliveries and billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. New aircraft billings were up 19.7 percent, to $8.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, while total deliveries of new GA airplanes increased 7.7 percent, to 1,928.