Monday, September 26, 2011
The head of Wichita's Cessna Aircraft Company says the plane maker must keep investing for the future, despite tough economic times now. With that in mind, Cessna unveiled a new business jet, the Cessna Citation M2.
It is the fanfare you come to expect with a new product unveiling. Dozens of Cessna Citation Mustang owners watch the wraps come off the mock-up for a plane Cessna hopes many of them will purchase. It is the Citation M2, a light business jet meant to fill a gap between the entry jet Mustang, and the Citation CJ Family.
"It's an impressive airplane," Walter Berry says. Berry, president of Wichita-based Berry companies, and an owner/pilot of a Citation Mustang, is the type of customer Cessna reached out to in marketing the M2.
"I think it's probably what a lot of the owners have been looking for. It's a little larger and faster than the Mustang with the same ease of operation and economical use," he says.
The new jet is larger, faster, and with a greater range than the Mustang. That's how Cessna will market the M2. Cessna's new president and chief executive officer Scott Ernest says customers have already placed orders for the M2 without even seeing it, based on their confidence Cessna will deliver what's promised.
"In the end, this is a business jet," Ernest says. "It's a tool for productivity. It gives our customers the opportunity to be more productive. And, as long as we stay focused on that, we have a great opportunity to sell our product."
It's been a terrible three years for planemakers like Cessna, which was forced to postpone the start-up of a larger product, the Columbus in 2009.
"If you're going to stay a very successful company you have to invest throughout the upturns and the downturns," Ernest says. "Because when you come out of those different cycles, you have to have product your customers need to have to be productive in their environment."
Customers like Arthur Alvis, president of Commtech Inc. "It's a terrific new aircraft," Alvis says. "It features a lot of the new things from the Mustang that have been incorporated into a little larger, a little faster aircraft."