Supply chains are flowing more smoothly and business remains steady across Textron Aviation’s diverse product lineup, from its piston-engined general aviation aircraft to its turboprops and business jets.

“We continue to see a very strong market globally for all of our products,” Lannie O’Bannion, Textron Aviation’s senior vice-president of global sales and flight operations, told reporters on 1 May at the company’s headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.

Textron Aviation’s basic strategy is to focus on the design, assembly and certification of clean-sheet aircraft, such as its forthcoming Beechcraft Denali platform and to support maintenance and operations across the life cycles of its products. The manufacturer in 2022 achieved certification of its new Cessna SkyCourier utility turboprop and is continually refreshing existing types by “listening to customers and making enhancements”, O’Bannion says. 

Some raw materials remain in short supply. But supply chain issues that have plagued the aerospace industry since the Covid-19 pandemic continue improving.

”Through the whole process of working with multiple suppliers, we always have things that pop up,” O’Bannion says. “I feel like we’ve got one of the strongest supply chain teams in the industry, and they are fully dedicated to working with our suppliers to get them healthy so that we can maintain our production rates.” 

495519-_C5A0418 SkyCourier ANAC cert 4000px-1257ce-original-1690819341

Source: Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation is delivering to FedEx 50 of the cargo variant of its twin turboprop SkyCourier

About two-thirds of the company’s sales activity occurs in Canada and the United States, followed by Europe and the Middle East.

“Within Europe, Germany is really the strongest country, where we see a lot of activity with turboprops,” O’Bannion says. “Within Latin America, Brazil is one of our strongest countries. Historically, it’s been a great [Cessna] Citation country for us, but we’ve also received strong turboprop activity – both with the Caravan and the King Air.”

King Air 360 EBACE 2022

Source: EBACE

Turboprops including the King Air 360 remain in strong demand 

Textron Aviation is seeking more sales to customers in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for a mid-single-digit percent of its global revenue. Textron Aviation made headway at the Singapore Air Show in February and is optimistic about potential opportunities in the region, according to O’Bannion. 

The market for pre-owned aircraft is slowing but remains solid, he adds. “We’ve seen a little bit of an uptick in availability but it is nothing concerning because pricing for these products continues to be very high.” 

Tracking flight hours across Textron Aviation’s active global fleet reveals market trends similar to those of last year, which is a good sign. “We know that we are in a strong market because people are flying,” O’Bannion says. 

“Customers are continuing to fly charter. They’re continuing to buy into the fractional [ownership] programme. We’re getting first-time buyers buying into a full aircraft ownership. These are all indicators that the market is strong.”


Textron Aviation looks forward to introducing several new aircraft to market next year, starting with the single-engined Beechcraft Denali, which is equipped with auto-land tecnology. 

Certification of that clean-sheet aircraft has been pushed back several times, with the company citing delays in the certification of the type’s GE Aerospace Catalyst engine. 

Three prototypes of the single-prop Denali have logged a total of nearly 2,000 flight hours to date, and one of those prototypes has a completed interior.

“I got to fly in the aircraft and was shocked by the ramp appearance of the Denali, the size of the cargo door,” O’Bannion says. “In flight, you experience the fit and finish of the cabin and the size of the cabin, as well as the performance of the aircraft that our test pilots are seeing.”


Source: Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation has attributed Denali’s delayed service entry to slow certification of its Catalyst engine

Textron Aviation still intends for Denali to clear certification with the Federal Aviation Administration next year, allowing deliveries to begin shortly thereafter.

Interest in Textron Aviation’s Cessna SkyCourier platform has been strong, both for passenger and cargo variants, O’Bannion says. “There’s a lot of buzz about this aircraft and the capabilities for this product.” The freighter can carry up to 2,720kg (6,000lb) of payload.

On the business-jet front, the Cessna Citation Ascend – an update to the 12-passenger Citation Excel, announced at last year’s EBACE show – is progressing on a similar timeline, with certification and service-entry targeted for next year.

Notably, Transport Canada recently certificated Pratt & Whitney Canada’s (P&WC) PW454D turbofan, the powerplant to power Ascend. It has yet to be certificated by the FAA. 

Similar to the Citation Latitude and Longitude platforms, Ascend is equipped with Garmin’s G5000 avionics suite, complete with auto-throttle. “We’ve increased the cabin experience for the aircraft – we flatten the floor and increase the window size, giving passengers a much better experience,” O’Bannion says.

Textron Aviation has logged about 350 flight hours on its prototype Ascend, and has been collecting data from operating an “iron-bird” test rig. Ascend is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney PW545Ds, an engine type that is “nearing its certification”, O’Bannion says.

The company is at about the same juncture with the Cessna Citation CJ3 Gen2 light jet – its latest update of the CJ3 platform, revealed last year – having logged roughly 250 fight hours on its prototype. Like the previous CJ3 variant, the Gen2 will have Williams International FJ44-3A engines and 2,040nm (3,778km) of range. It can be flown by a single pilot and carry nine passengers. 

The M2 Gen2 light jet is right behind, with Textron having logged 90 test-flight hours. Both platforms are on track for certification in 2025.


Source: Textron Aviation

The Cessna Citation CJ3 Gen2 was unveileved ahead of last year’s NBAA show in Las Vegas 

It is unlikely Textron Aviation will make a run at the large-cabin segment of the business jet market anytime soon.  “There’s just a lot of aircraft in that space,” he says. “We like to focus in areas that we are successful.”

O’Bannion declines to hint at the direction of the company’s next clean-sheet design but maintains that the aircraft manufacturer maintains a “very robust product strategy”.

Notably, Textron Aviation is participating in this month’s EBACE show in Geneva while other big names in the space – Bombardier and Gulfstream –will be absent. Those companies have said they are skipping the event to pursue better opportunities to spend marketing dollars and influence potential buyers. 

But Textron Aviation says it is important to have a physical presence at the show. 

“We sell a lot of aircraft in Europe and going to the show is very important to us,” O’Bannion says. “We are committed to being there for our customers. It is well-attended by our customers in Europe and the Middle East.”

“We are excited to be at these shows and interface with our customers and showcase our products.”