More than 500 sales opportunities have been identified within Europe for the Cessna 408 SkyCourier utility aircraft now in development, Textron Aviation chief executive Scott Ernest says.

“That’s a good basis to start from, so we’re pretty excited about that,” Ernest said during a press conference on 28 May.

Textron Aviation launched the SkyCourier in November with a firm order for 50 aircraft from US cargo operator FedEx, along with options for 50 more.

The twin-turboprop, high-wing aircraft can also be configured as a commuter aircraft with up to 19 seats.

The cargo version is expected to enter service within two years, even as Textron Aviation works to bring the Cessna Citation Latitude midsize jet, Cessna Denali single-engined turboprop and the jet-powered Scorpion light attack aircraft to market.

“[FedEx put us on an accelerated schedule to get that done, and that’s okay," Ernest says. I feel pretty comfortable we’ll have that product in 2020.

“It’s a product we’re already selling,” he adds. “So that typically tells me we’ve got a good product and it’s an area we need to be.”

Textron Aviation is designing the Cessna 408 with a focus on simplicity and utility. It features a strut-braced wing, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine and a large cargo door. The fuselage is sized to accommodate standard cargo containers used by FedEx.

Source: Flight Daily News