April 19, 2012
By Alton K. Marsh
Economic numbers improved for Textron, the parent company of Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter, during the first quarter of 2012, the company said in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Total revenues were up by more than 15 percent to $2.9 billion.
“The demand environment for our commercial aircraft and industrial products continued to improve, which reinforces our confidence in our outlook for the year,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott C. Donnelly. Donnelly continued, “In addition to solid operational execution during the quarter, we secured a number of key program wins and made important strategic moves that should help provide growth in the long term, most notably our agreement with Aviation Industry Corporation of China to develop the Chinese general aviation market.”
Cessna won a year-long beauty contest with other large manufacturers, all of whom wanted to be China’s pick for partnering. China officials finally settled on Cessna.
Revenues at Cessna increased $113 million, reflecting the delivery of 38 new Citation jets in the quarter compared with 31 in the first quarter of 2011, Textron said, as well as higher aftermarket volumes. The segment loss improved by $32 million to $6 million, primarily because of the higher volumes. Cessna’s backlog at the end of the first quarter was $1.7 billion, down $167 million from the end of last year, the company reported.
Bell revenues increased $245 million in the first quarter from the same quarter in the previous year. Bell delivered 10 V-22 Ospreys, seven H-1s, and 30 commercial aircraft in the first quarter of 2012 compared to nine V-22s, four H-1s, and 15 commercial helicopters in the same period last year. “Segment profit increased $54 million, primarily reflecting the higher volume and mix of commercial aircraft,” Textron said. “Bell backlog at the end of the first quarter was $7.1 billion, down $213 million from the end of 2011.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
Cessna Aircraft staff gathered around the first production Citation Latitude to celebrate another step toward certification of an aircraft important to the firm’s future.
New draft airman certification standards are available for review on the FAA’s website. In addition to releasing the draft standards, the FAA also announced that it would be deleting questions from the private pilot airplane knowledge test, effective Feb. 9.
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