After many delays and false starts, a long-promised revolution in the super-light and midsize cabin segments has finally arrived at the NBAA static park.

The debut appearances of the Cessna Citation Latitude and the Embraer Legacy 450 breathe new life in a market still on the cusp of a sustained recovery.

As manufacturers in this segment shift their focus from owner-operators to corporate and fractional fleets, both products scheduled for delivery in the second quarter next year reflect a new blurring of the traditional definitions separating super-light and midsize categories, while introducing certain features and technologies associated with much larger and more sophisticated business jets.

“It’s going to redefine the midsize cabin segment, as we believe,” says Kriya Shortt, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Cessna.

Both jets deliver a stand-up cabin with a flat floor and enough range to cross the USA. Cessna’s product flies 200nm (370km) further currently than the 2,500nm-range of the Legacy 450, but Embraer often announces range improvements as new aircraft are certificated. Embraer also introduces fly-by-wire flight controls beneath the super-large-cabin segment for the first time on the Legacy 450.

The stakes are high for both companies as both prepare to enter the market. According a supply-side analysis by Flightglobal's consultancy arm Ascend, a full recovery in the midsize sector over the next 10 years could make the Legacy 450 and the Latitude the sales leaders for both companies.

Ascend forecasts that the Legacy 450 is projected to yield 430 deliveries over the next 10 years, with annual production of 60 aircraft starting in 2021. The Latitude, meanwhile, is estimated to produce 300 aircraft over the next 10 years, with annual production rising to 50 jets in 2021.

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Source: Flight Daily News