WICHITA, Kan., Jan. 14, 2009 – Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, continues to move forward on new product development projects including the Citation Columbus, the Citation CJ4 and the Model 162 SkyCatcher.
“Despite the uncertainty of the world’s economic environment, we believe it is critical that we not compromise our future. Our new product development programs are proceeding on schedule,” said Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton. “We remain committed to investing in these programs, whether it is in aircraft development, facility construction or ensuring we have the people resources to meet our schedule.”
The Citation Columbus was formally launched about one year ago and is planned to enter service with customers in 2014. The Citation CJ4, the newest member of the popular CJ series of light business jets, is well into certification testing and is expected to enter service early next year. The SkyCatcher Light Sport Aircraft is nearing final ASTM compliance certification and deliveries are planned to begin later this year.
The $780 million Citation Columbus development program is comprised of both aircraft development and manufacturing facilities construction.
On the aircraft development side, Cessna and its design team have more than 850 employees working Columbus design tasks. Additionally, other supplier employees are working on engine and avionics tasks for the intercontinental, large-cabin business jet.
Meanwhile, facilities work continues at full pace in Wichita where the new Citation Columbus assembly facility is located. Some 450,000 cubic yards (344,050 cubic meters) of earth is being moved in to support the massive 600,000 square-foot (55,742 square meters) building. Construction is expected to start in March following selection of a general contractor for the project.
The Citation CJ4 continues toward full FAA certification later this year. Three aircraft are in the flight test program and have completed nearly 350 flight hours. A test airframe successfully completed cyclic tests, reaching five lifetimes with no structural fatigue issues.
“We remain 100 percent on schedule on this key program,” Pelton said. “The CJ4 is already proving to be a popular model, offering businesses the perfect blend of cost efficiency and performance.”
The production line is already functional and the first production aircraft is moving down the line on schedule, with the second production aircraft set to follow soon.
As for the lower end of the Cessna product line, all engineering work and testing of the 162 SkyCatcher is being completed according to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
Flight testing is focused on gathering data and making minor refinements to ensure the aircraft complies with ASTM requirements and fulfills its intended role in the training and sport flying market. An extensive Ground Vibration Test, though not an ASTM requirement, was conducted to meet Cessna’s exacting standards for airframe integrity. Additional testing beyond the ASTM requirements will include a full airframe fatigue test on a production aircraft. Cessna plans to begin deliveries in the U.S. later this year.
Based on unit sales, Cessna Aircraft Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. In 2007, Cessna delivered 1,272 aircraft, including 387 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of about $5 billion. Cessna has a backlog of $15.6 billion as of September 30, 2008. Since the company was originally established in 1927, some 191,000 Cessna airplanes have been delivered around the world, including more than 5,400 Citations, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at www.cessna.com.
Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is a $12.6 billion multi-industry company operating in 28 countries with approximately 42,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, defense and intelligence, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation. More information is available at www.textron.com.
Forward-looking Information: Certain statements in this release are forward-looking statements and speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the statements, including but not limited to the following: changes in worldwide economic and political conditions that impact demand for our products, interest rates and foreign exchange rates; the interruption of production at our facilities or at our suppliers’ facilities; the timing of new product launches and certifications of new aircraft products; the occurrence of slowdowns or downturns in customer markets in which our products are sold or supplied; changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellation of orders; the launching of significant new products or programs which could result in unanticipated expenses; risks and uncertainties related to building new facilities, including difficulties, delays or unanticipated expenses in completing the facility and the disruption of current plans and operations; changes in national or international government policies on the export and import of commercial products; and bankruptcy or other financial problems at major suppliers that could cause disruptions in our supply chain.