Scott Donnelly, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna Aircraft parent company Textron, said his company’s acquisition of Beechcraft has received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from both Cessna and Beechcraft customers. The deal, announced December 26, is expected to close by the middle of this year.
General aviation advocate and former Cessna Aircraft chief Russ Meyer received the Wichita Aero Club Trophy on Saturday. In introducing Meyer before he was bestowed with the Wichita Aero Club’s highest honor, NBAA chairman and CEO Ed Bolen called him “one of the most significant figures in general aviation history.” Meyer joined Cessna in 1974, and over his 31-year tenure there the Wichita company delivered 67,000 aircraft. He also worked to establish the FAA’s Airport and Airway Trust Fund in 1970 and was central to the passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act in 1994.
Cessna Aircraft delivered 139 jets last year, down from 181 in 2012, but Scott Donnelly, chairman and CEO at parent company Textron, said yesterday during the fourth-quarter investor conference call that deliveries are expected to increase this year thanks to new aircraft such as the Citation M2, Sovereign+ and revamped X. The former two aircraft were certified last month, while the Mach 0.935 Citation X is slated to get the FAA’s blessing in March or April.
Roger Whyte, who was a senior executive with Cessna Aircraft for more than 28 years before retiring in late 2010, is now the chairman of the Central European Private Aviation Association (CEPA). He succeeds Philippe Lienard, who since last February had been the chairman of the group that supports the development of business aviation in Central and Eastern Europe. Whyte is being tasked with helping guide the organization through its fifth year of growth.
The world’s economy, for the most part, is slowly and steadily improving, but that has not yet provided the general aviation industry with a shot in the arm. During the past year only two clean-sheet jet designs were formally unveiled–the Pilatus PC-24 and Dassault Falcon 5X–but these were known to be under way for many years before this year’s public program launches.
Textron and Beechcraft Corp. announced late yesterday that Textron has agreed to acquire Beech Holdings, LLC, the parent of Beechcraft Corp., for approximately $1.4 billion in cash. This confirms rumors swirling over the past few months.
Cessna Aircraft marked an early New Year celebration yesterday with the first deliveries of both the Citation M2 and the Citation Sovereign+. The $4.395 million M2 is a derivative of Cessna’s CJ1 and retains the same C525 type designation as the aircraft from which it is derived. Featured are such major upgrades as winglets, the new Intrinzic cockpit powered by Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics, a restyled cabin and cockpit and new Williams International FJ44-1AP-21 engines.
Friday’s market chatter that Textron is set to acquire Beechcraft had still drawn no official comment either party as of press time. A December 20 report in the Financial Times citing only “people familiar with the matter” was enough to drive Textron’s share price up on Wall Street by almost 15 percent at one point to close at $37.29 by the end of the day.
Cessna Aircraft celebrated Christmas two days early with first deliveries today of both the new Citation M2 and the Citation Sovereign+ models. Deliveries began immediately following certifications by the Federal Aviation Administration, with the first M2 going to best-selling author, pilot and former Citation Mustang owner Stuart Woods.
Wheels Up plans to add Cessna Citation Excels and Sovereigns to its private aviation membership program, the company announced on Friday. The first Citations are set to become available to Wheels Up members around the end of the first quarter. Cessna is currently outfitting the first of these with Wheels Up’s blue-and-white livery and with revamped cabins providing Wi-Fi connectivity.