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Textron hints at new Cessna jets

Cessna officials will provide details on new aircraft Nov. 17 during the upcoming National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas, including a single-engine turboprop and plans to expand the company’s jet portfolio. The Latitude, with a range of 2,850 nautical miles, will make its first public appearance; four have been delivered.

The Cessna website states, “One new Citation leads to another; more news coming 11.17.15,” referring to details on the Longitude. The Longitude will launch in late 2017.

The super-mid-size Longitude was reported by Cessna to cost $26 million in 2012. It was briefed back then by company officials as a 4,000-nm-range, 490-knot-true-airspeed aircraft with a crew of two or three and up to eight passengers. It is powered by two Snecma Silvercrest 11,000-pound-thrust engines. That engine experienced a one-year delay after problems with thermal differences between the oil and fuel that required new parts.

Textron Chairman, President, and CEO Scott Donnelly hinted at a possible additional aircraft to be announced at NBAA. “There’s a lot of work that’s been going on in terms of our portfolio in the jet business, particularly the higher end of our jet business. I think it’ll all start to make more sense once you see what happens at NBAA.” He added, “We have a clear line of sight to the Longitude in 2017 and [the] portfolio beyond that.”

AINOnline reported in March that Textron Aviation had resurrected a composite-fuselage Hawker 4000 for testing, but company officials wouldn’t say whether it was testing parts, such as wings and winglets, for other models or whether it might return as the basis for a future model. The aircraft went out of production in 2012, five years after entering service with only 100 in the fleet.

Donnelly said, “The market in North America, the U.S., has been reasonably strong. We’re pretty happy with the market in the U.S. There’s no question that the markets in Europe and Asia are a challenge. I think part of that is just the economies are in a pretty difficult spot. Of course, the U.S. dollar being quite strong put additional pressure on that in terms of all the product lines. There’s no question right now our recovery and the strength of the business is largely North American.” About 80 percent of Textron Aviation orders come from North America.

At Textron Aviation, revenues were up $79 million compared to the third quarter of 2014 thanks to larger jet and military deliveries. Aviation had a profit of $107 million compared to $62 million a year ago. The backlog was $1.4 billion, approximately flat with the end of the second quarter. Textron Aviation delivered 37 new Citation jets, four more than the third quarter of 2014, and 29 King Airs, one less than the third quarter of 2014. At Bell Helicopter, revenues were down $426 million due to few V-22 tiltrotor deliveries and lower commercial revenues.

Embraer, a company that also might reveal a new jet during NBAA, reported that it delivered 21 commercial and 30 executive aircraft (21 light jets and nine large jets) in the third quarter of 2015, compared to 19 commercial and 15 executive jets (15 light jets) in the third quarter of 2014. Revenues in the third quarter of 2015 totaled $1.28 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014. While commercial and executive jet sales grew, military sales were down 47 percent.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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