Sluggish demand across the business aircraft sector contributed to a $44 million fall in revenues for Textron Aviation to $1.15 billion for the three months ended 30 September.
Third-quarter financial results, issued by parent company Textron on 19 October, show that the Wichita-headquartered airframer delivered 24 King Air turboprops, down from 29 during the same period last year; Cessna Citation business jet shipments remained flat over the same period at 41 units.
Speaking during an earnings call, Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly described the output as “a little bit light”. While turboprops were the worst performers over the period, he suggests the deliveries were “considerably stronger than they were in the first couple of quarters”, thanks to growing international demand.
“While it’s not what we delivered a year ago, [there was] a lot more sales and order activity than we’ve seen for a while. So that bodes well,” says Donnelly.
He insists the company will stick to its firm line on pricing, to maintain the profitability of Citation, King Air and Caravan lines – even if this results in lower production output. “It’s a tough line to hold in this market,” he admits.
The order backlog climbed by $142 million in the quarter to $1.2 billion, while the book-to-bill ratio – or the number of orders against deliveries – stood at 1.1:1.
For the nine months ended 30 September, King Air and Citation output totalled 54 and 81 units respectively. This compares with 78 King Airs and 120 Citations delivered during the same period in 2016.