Thanks to the continuing sales performance of the Citation line, operational results for Cessna in the first quarter of this year were described by Lewis Campbell, chairman, president and CEO of parent company Textron as “nothing short of superb.” Speaking last week to the financial community, Campbell said Cessna in the first quarter received orders for 122 Citations, bringing total orders on hand to more than 400.
This week Cessna celebrated two major turbine fleet milestones. The Caravan fleet reached 10 million flight hours and its Citation line has reached double that. The company also announced that it has addressed some teething problems and resumed deliveries of the Mustang, its entry into the VLJ market. Garmin has fixed a software glitch that wouldn’t allow users to alter an arrival after one was already selected on the G1000.
Fractional provider CitationShares yesterday announced three new programs for its customers–Preferred Positioning, Caribbean Express and Vector Value Plus. The Preferred Positioning program allows customers to book and purchase–at a steep discount–positioning (deadhead) flights on CitationShares aircraft. Through the program, CitationShares customers will receive a daily e-mail at around 6:30 p.m.
Responding to an increasing number of business jet orders and lengthening backlogs–a boon for manufacturers, but a bane for customers–Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon (see item below) are ratcheting up production. Cessna plans to deliver 240 Citations this year (some 60 more than last year) and 270 to 290 next year.
Among business jet manufacturers, Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon are the top performers in AIN’s 2005 Product Support Survey. AIN readers gave Gulfstream the highest marks for both its newer and older jets when ratings for the Westwind series are excluded. When these models are included in Gulfstream’s combined average, Cessna moves into the top spot for new and old business jets combined.
One year after CitationShares introduced its Vector jet card, the fractional provider has curtailed sales to “not exceed the capacity to fulfill” charter and owner flights. “We have reached the capacity we targeted way earlier than expected,” according to CitationShares president and CEO Steve O’Neill. “We expected a renewal rate of about 35 percent, but about 75 percent of cardholders are renewing.
One month ahead of schedule, the first Citation Mustang production aircraft (S/N 0001) took to the air on Monday. The very light jet (VLJ) flew exactly two hours, performing basic systems and avionics checks, including engaging the autopilot, testing handling characteristics, operating the gear and flaps, activating the de-ice system and evaluating engine response and performance.
In the final report on the February 2005 Cessna Citation 560 crash in Pueblo, Colo., the NTSB said it interviewed instructors about pilot training on Citation 560 de-icing procedures. The Citation 560 AFM recommends that pilots wait to activate de-ice boots until one-quarter to half an inch of ice accumulates to prevent so-called ice bridging.
Elliott Aviation of Moline, Ill., has authorization to do full line service and maintenance on the Williams-Rolls FJ44-1A/2C and -2A turbofans used on the Cessna CitationJet and Beechcraft Premier I, respectively.
“The Williams-Rolls authorization is one more step in our continued efforts to provide additional value to our customers,” said company president Wynn Elliott.
Global events are apparently conspiring to create some increase in the cost of business aircraft interiors. Ed Harris, director of sales and marketing for Fiber Art of San Antonio, said his company has recently sent letters to its customers advising them that prices this year are going up by about 15 percent.