Cessna unveiled a new cabin mock-up of its Citation Columbus business jet at the show as it forges ahead with aircraft development and upgrade programmes.

Chief executive Jack Pelton said "the mock-up represents a departure from conventional Cessna design" and incorporates the customer feedback generated during the global tour of the first conceptual design unveiled two years ago". The interior features more galley space, new lighting, newly sculpted sidewalls and heated passenger seats.

Cessna has amassed more than 70 orders to date for the large-cabin $27 million Columbus, which is earmarked for its first flight in 2011 and service entry in 2014. Later this month the company will break ground on a dedicated production facility for the twin-engined business jet at its Wichita headquarters.

Cessna's CJ family of light business jets will also get a revamp from next year. CJ1+ CJ2+ and CJ3 business jets will now include exterior and interior LED lighting, tail logo lights, a DBU-5000 database loader, Rockwell Collins maintenance diagnostic system and upgrades to the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 cockpit as standard.

Cessna Citation Colombus mock up

The CJ3 will also be equipped with a traffic collision and avoidance system II as standard. The CJ4 at the top of Cessna's light jet family is continuing flight testing, Pelton said, and is on track for certification and first deliveries in the second quarter of next year and in 2010 respectively.

Cessna's order backlog exceeds $16 billion - 70% of which are from outside the USA - and is on track to deliver 470 new jets this year. "We will achieve full production for the Mustang very light jet this month and plan to deliver 150 aircraft a year from 2009," said Pelton, adding that the aircraft has already amassed more than 600 orders to date. Meanwhile, the superlight XLS+, for which Cessna has accumulated more 225 orders, is scheduled for European approval early next year.

Source: Flight International