Cessna chief executive Jack Pelton has given his strongest hint yet that the company will launch a larger business jet than the Sovereign and Citation X to compete against Bombardier, Gulfstream and Raytheon in the super-midsize segment. The suggestion was made to Flight International as the company reported its 2005 delivery figures, which Pelton said showed Cessna making “remarkable gains and significant achievements”.

Cessna's Citation range has best-sellers in most of the segments in which they compete, with the Citation X the world's fastest civil aircraft. However, Wichita, Kansas-based Cessna has nothing with which to tempt customers looking for larger cabined aircraft. Cessna, says Pelton, is “aggressively assessing what our strategy will be in that market”, which is a segment “we would like to move into”.

PeltonCessna's product strategy over the years has been to develop larger versions of existing models and it prides itself on its ability to keep customers within the family.

Pelton (pictured left) also says “announcements are pending” on a new range of single-piston aircraft to replace its venerable 172/182 and 206. “We are going to address a new family,” he says. “It is where we started and it's a market we want to stay in.”

Last year, Cessna delivered 249 Citation jets, 822 single engine pistons, and 86 Caravan single-engine turboprops. It also won US Federal Aviation Administration certification for the CJ1+ and CJ2+ and built its order book up to 788 jets and 1,198 single engine aircraft with a total value of $6.3 billion, the company says.  “As good as 2005 was, we expect 2006 to be even better,” Pelton says.




Source: Flight International