Riding on strong worldwide economies and robust orders for business jets, Cessna Aircraft Co has so far sold 609 jets, more than twice its delivery rate, and also its entire production for the next three years. This Textron Group company''s backlog has hit a record $11.9 billion at the end of the third quarter, up $1.5 billion from the previous one.
Last month''s National Business Aviation Association''s show in Atlanta saw the company book orders for 178 aircraft, worth $1 billion. That included orders for 101 Citations, 59 Caravans, 13 single-engine piston planes and five Skycatchers, Cessna''s new light sport aircraft.
These orders exclude the 30 Citation Xs it sold to XOJet and the 30 Mustangs it sold to a European charter company, which it announced at the show.
Analysts now say that the business jet cycle may well turn out to be longer and stronger than past cycles, mainly on the back of rising foreign demand.
To maintain deliveries, Cessna is expanding its operations in Columbus, Ga., and Mexico and also its paint facility in Wichita, according to a company spokesman. Group and company officials are also due to meet shortly to talk about other investments needed to expand production capacity, officials said.
For the third quarter this year, Cessna has posted profits of $222 million, on revenue of $1.27 billion. This is up from a profit of $162 million for the quarter, on revenue of $1.05 billion, for the same time a year ago.
Cessna intends to deliver 380 business jets this year, including 44 Mustangs from its plant in Independence. For the next year, the company plans to deliver 470 jets, including about 100 Mustangs.
Citation Mustang orders have risen dramatically over the past three months. The company took orders for 153 of the $2.6 million jets in the third quarter, bringing the number of orders to 386.
Cessna''s strong performance has also impacted results at Textron, where revenue was $3.26 billion for the quarter, up 15 per cent from a year ago.