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Cessna revises business jet forecast downward

Cessna has released a new outlook that predicts a worse year for business jet deliveries in 2013, dashing hopes across the industry that the market for light jets would at least stabilise after a four-year recession.

The gloomy forecast means the Textron subsidiary believes demand has weakened for light jets only three months after Cessna predicted that deliveries would remain even this year and begin growing again in 2014.

Cessna's new outlook has raised fresh doubts about the light jet market's viability. Indeed, on 17 April Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly was asked on a conference call with analysts what the company would do if light jet demand never recovered.

"We are now in the fifth year of no growth in the business jet business," Donnelly says. "It's a place that at some point needs to get back to growth. We thought surely that would happen in 2013."

Cessna changed its outlook for the year after negotiations with several customers fizzled out over pricing in the first quarter. Such negotiations are critical as Cessna's backlog for light jets is exhausted and deliveries are based solely on new orders as they come in. But Cessna's potential buyers are refusing to commit at a price that Textron is willing to allow.

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