EBACE: Cessna predicts bright future in Europe

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Cessna is predicting a bright future for its business in Europe, despite the prevailing economic uncertainty on the continent.

Speaking this morning, Cessna president and chief executive Scott Ernest said: "We are seeing high levels of interest in our aircraft throughout Europe and we expect this trend to continue.

"The significant advantages that stem from business aviation are important and appealing factors in the European market. We expect the European Union to remain our single largest market outside the US for the foreseeable future."

Ernest said that alongside established markets such as the UK and Germany, it is seeing growth in eastern Europe for its jet models and "increasing demand" for its Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-powered Grand Caravan in CIS countries.

It predicts its two in-development models - the midsize Citation Latitude and the light Citation M2 - will also find favour with European customers. Both models are attracting "encouraging levels of interest", the company says.

The $14.9 million Latitude is benefiting from a range extension announced in February, taking maximum range to 2,300nm (4,260km), it adds. It is scheduled to enter service in 2015.

Its sister aircraft, the Williams International FJ44-1AP-21-powered M2, made its first prototype flight, lasting 90min, in March this year. Since then, the prototype has flown 35 times and acquired more than 70h of flying time. Cessna also just completed the first flight of its second conforming prototype.

US Federal Aviation Administration certification is expected in the first half of 2013, followed by deliveries beginning in the second half of 2013.

Meanwhile, Cessna will open a second European Citation service centre in Valencia by the fourth quarter of 2012. The Valencia site offers 5,800m² (62,400ft²) of hangarage and 3,500m² of office and administration space.

Cessna is also positioning a mobile service unit in Stuttgart, Germany, with a small support office.

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