Scott Ernest, who joined Textron and took over as CEO of the company’s Cessna subsidiary in May 2011, recently presided over one of the largest manufacturer mergers in aviation history this year, the integration of Cessna and Beechcraft. In March Textron bought Beechcraft for $1.4 billion and placed the Cessna and Beechcraft brands under the newly formed Textron Aviation, headed by Ernest as president and CEO.
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group is one of the oldest and most respected names in aerospace through its long history, consisting primarily of military work. While it has been involved in business aviation for many years, and has 40 years’ experience in performing MRO work on Cessna Citations, the group is now dramatically expanding its footprint in the sector.
The world’s leading business jet manufacturers posted financial results for the first quarter of 2014 in the weeks leading up to this year’s EBACE show. Overall, the latest numbers are somewhat encouraging in the context of the industry’s slow recovery but there are significant variations in the details. Here AIN provides a summary of the main conclusions.
Bombardier Aerospace: Bizjet Deliveries Up, Backlog Grows
FAA certification of the new Cessna Citation X, recently redesignated as the X+, is apparently just around the corner. Flight testing of the super-midsize jet concluded in late April, Scott Donnelly, the chairman and CEO of Cessna parent Textron, noted last week during an investor conference call. “At this point it’s now just into the paperwork process,” he commented.
Randy Soutiere has joined Elliott Aviation as v-p of operational support. In his new role, Soutiere will oversee engineering, quality control, customer support, lean manufacturing, parts and FBO services. The newly created position is part of an organizational restructuring that appoints Ed Chevrestt to the new position of v-p of operations. Elliott says the changes represent its sharpening focus on customer support. Soutiere’s 30 years of experience include a long career with Cessna, where he was most recently general manager of the Mesa, Ariz.
First-quarter revenues at Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna and Beechcraft, were up $77 million, to $785 million, thanks to the mid-March acquisition of Beechcraft, higher jet deliveries and higher aftermarket sales but offset by fewer pre-owned sales and falling revenue at CitationAir. The division recorded a profit of $14 million in the quarter versus a loss of $8 million a year ago, helped by firmer pricing and higher jet volumes.
Textron Aviation issued layoff notices yesterday for 750 full-time and contract employees at Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft as it integrates these businesses following Textron’s acquisition of Beechcraft last month. “As a part of bringing together these businesses, we have identified redundancies in our global workforce that have ultimately led to some very difficult decisions that affect the sizing of our business,” the company said in a statement.
Spending a week in China at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition is a refreshing reminder that as much as countries like China want to put general aviation to work, the actual implementation is going to be nothing like what aviation-minded westerners are used to. It seems we have a naive desire to see general aviation in China replicate the landscape of non-commercial aviation in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
China’s commercial aviation manufacturing sector is challenged to match Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer in building large passenger jets. But it faces brighter prospects in building general aviation and business aircraft, according to a Rand study released last month.
Carey Matthews (left), general manager Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre (SHPBASC, Booth H128) receives a plaque from Brad Thress, senior v-p Customer Service, Textron Aviation (Chalet 13), identifying SHPBASC as an authorized Cessna Service Center.
“We’re privileged to service Cessnas around China,” Matthews said.
Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna, Beechcraft, and support services for Hawker jets, no longer in production, has some 325 of its products in China, encompassing about 200 piston, 70 turboprop and 50 jet aircraft.