The midsize Citation Latitude and super-midsize Citation Longitude are among the new jets being developed or readied for delivery by Cessna.
Robb Report Private Aviation Advisory Board member Kevin O’Leary, the founder and president of Jet Advisors, says the private-aviation industry has entered a period of manufacturer confidence. “Even though the market and residual values seem a bit sluggish, the manufacturers are still reinvesting,” he says. “The long-term outlook has to be good, because each of the manufacturers is investing heavily in new aircraft. They’re putting some serious money into this, so that tells me that the forecast to them makes it a worthwhile investment. And it’s not a new interior or new avionics in an old airplane; they’re investing big bucks in some aircraft that are virtually clean-sheet designs.”
Perhaps no manufacturer is exhibiting more confidence than Cessna (www.cessna.com), which began delivering two new aircraft last year—the Citation M2 light jet and the Citation Sovereign+ midsize jet—and plans to start deliveries of the CJ3+ light jet by the end of this year. Next year, the Wichita, Kan.–based company expects its Citation Latitude midsize jet to receive FAA certification. “The Latitude is an aircraft that delivers a lot of firsts from Cessna,” says Scott Ernest, the president and CEO of Textron Aviation, Cessna’s parent company. “It’s a breakthrough aircraft in many ways.”
The Latitude has a range of nearly 2,900 miles and a maximum cruising speed of 519 mph. At 6 feet 5 inches, its cabin is the widest of any Citation jet. The cabin is also 6 feet tall, and it accommodates as many as nine passengers. The jet’s price is $16.25 million.
Also in the works is the Citation Longitude, which will mark Cessna’s entry into the super-midsize category. The aircraft, which the company expects to be certified by 2017, has a projected range of 4,600 miles. That will enable flights from New York to Paris, London to Dubai, and Beijing to Moscow. It will have a top cruising speed of 564 mph and seat as many as 12 passengers. The Longitude will be priced at $25.9 million.
“We’re trying to protect the areas of the market that we’re good at and incrementally grow,” Ernest says, adding that the super-midsize category is one in which most manufacturers are investing. “The strategy is to grow our way into that market. I spend 30 to 40 percent of my time with customers, so I keep a pretty good check on the pulse of what they’re saying. I’m more interested in listening to our customer base and responding to them, putting those investment dollars into play, and incrementally growing as we see fit.”
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