Cessna has snapped up the assets of bankrupt light aircraft manufacturer Columbia for $26.4 million in a move that will significantly boost its single-engine product portfolio. The transaction is expected to be finalised by 4 December, when Columbia's high-performance singles will be rebranded as the Cessna 350 and 400.

Cessna chief executive Jack Pelton says: "This is a significant day as it brings together two top aircraft design and production companies to offer the global general aviation community the widest range of propeller aircraft, along with world-class product support, all under the Cessna brand."

He adds: "I would like to thank the 400-plus Columbia employees for their continued hard work and dedication during the bankruptcy process. We look forward to welcoming them to the Cessna family."

Pelton says the Columbia models are a good fit with Cessna's product line and has pledged "to make significant investments in people and operations [at Columbia's Bend Oregon base] to bolster customer satisfaction and business profitability."

Columbia manufacturing factory

Cessna and its network of authorised dealers and service centres plan to integrate sales and support of the former Columbia aircraft. Cessna parts distribution is expected to become the source for parts. Cessna also intends to develop direct communications with current owners.

"We feel it's very important for Cessna customers to enjoy a seamless, high-quality experience throughout our entire product line - from the SkyCatcher all the way up to the Citation X. It only makes sense that we fully embrace these two new aircraft and their owners as members of the Cessna family," Pelton says. "Current Columbia aircraft owners should feel very secure knowing their investment will now be supported through our vast global customer sales and service network."

Cessna currently offers eight single-engine piston models, beginning with the recently launched Cessna 162 SkyCatcher light sport aircraft. The Cessna 350 will feature an all-composite airframe, Garmin G1000 avionics and GFC700 flight-control system, and Teledyne Continental TSIO-550-C engine, while the Cessna 400 will offer the same features with dual turbochargers for the engine.

Related articles:

Cirrus pulls out of Columbia auction
Cessna to assembly SkyCatcher in China


Source: Flight International