Mark Hannant

Cessna has arrived at Asian Aerospace 2000 full of optimism about growth potential in the region. And to prove the point announced on the eve of the show that it has sold six new Cessna 172R Skyhawks to Singapore Airlines.

The order more than doubles the existing fleet of five new-generation Skyhawks delivered to Singapore Airlines in April 1998, two years after the company returned to manufacturing piston singles. The Singapore Flying College will operate the new aircraft at Jandakot Airport, outside Perth, Western Australia.

Other regional training institutions already operating Skyhawks include Philippine Airlines and Korean Air. Other single-engine orders have been received from New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan in recent months.

John Doman, director, worldwide sales, single-engine piston aircraft spoke in upbeat terms as the show began. "Sales of Cessna piston engine aircraft were up 70% in 1999 on 1998 and in 2000 we're already up on last year. That's very encouraging and makes our presence at the show all the more important."

The potential for growth is strong, says Phil Michel, vice-president of marketing. "We are constantly refining our overall Asia-Pacific marketing strategies to even more effectively leverage the strengths of our products for future customers in this region.

"We expect that the economic resurgence will continue on an upward trend, and plan to be well prepared to meet the aircraft needs of new customers."

In New Zealand, 1999 legislation on passenger-carrying single-engine instrument flight rules will probably open up new markets for the Cessna Caravan. The Grand Caravan is on show here at the show along with the Citation Excel and 182 Skylane.

Cessna sales for 1999 show revenue and backlog figures at record levels. And in an attempt to push sales even higher the production of several millennium edition single-engine aircraft was announced. Deliveries of special configuration Skyhawk SP, Skylane, Stationair and Turbo Stationair will begin in April 2000.

With redesigned interiors including leather seats among a host of other upgrades and special features, Cessna hopes the idea of a unique aircraft, available for a limited time in 2000 will appeal to customers.

Source: Flight Daily News