Cessna matches Embraer with Latitude range boost

Washington DC
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Cessna has said its new Latitude midsize jet will have a range of 2,300nm (4,260km), up 15% from the 2,000nm target the company announced when unveiling the stand-up cabin eight-passenger twinjet in October.

The increase puts the Latitude on a more level playing field with its direct competitor in the category, the Embraer Legacy 450, which also has a 2,300nm range.

Cessna has priced the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D-powered Latitude at $14.9 million, with deliveries expected to start in 2015. The aircraft has conventional flight controls and a flightdeck based on the Garmin G5000 touch-screen integrated avionics suite.

Embraer has priced the Honeywell HTF7500E-powered Legacy 450, which has a Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion flightdeck and fly-by-wire (FBW) control system, at $15.25 million, with entry into service scheduled for late 2014.

Issues with certain aspects of the FBW system recently caused the airframer to announce a one-year delay in the certification schedule for both the Legacy 450 and its larger, longer range sister, the Legacy 500. Embraer plans to certificate the Legacy 500 in late 2013.

"Our customers asked, we answered," said Trevor Esling, Cessna vice-president of sales for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, on the enhanced Latitude range. "The increased range will give the aircraft more flexibility to fly a wider variety of missions and meet our customer requirements for comfort and performance."

Cessna said the initial European operator of the Latitude will be Germany's Air Hamburg Private Jets, which will use the type for charter and executive transport.