"Being able to call Kansas home for the Citation Columbus is important to Cessna," said president and chief executive Jack Pelton during the ground-breaking ceremony. "Despite the uncertainty of the short-term economic environment, we believe it is critical that we not compromise our future."
The $200 million building on the Cessna campus at Mid-Continent airport will be the site of final assembly for Cessna's largest aircraft yet. Components will be constructed by suppliers across Canada, in the UK and the USA, with Spirit AeroSystems building the fuselage in Wichita.
The building location was announced in April, along with a deal with local and state government package of incentives, including $33 million in bonds authorised by Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius on 23 April.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sebelius pointed to a Wichita State University study that concluded each dollar invested in the aircraft industry brings a $2.14 return to the economy. "Research shows that each aviation job creates an additional 2.9 jobs, which means a total of nearly 4,000 future new jobs in Kansas as a result of this new plant," she said. The programme will create up to 1,000 new jobs at Cessna, with an estimated annual payroll of $74 million.
The 12-seat, $27 million Columbus will be the largest jet with the longest range in Cessna's portfolio. Certification is expected by the end of 2013, with deliveries set for 2014.