Cessna has opened the 2015 Asian Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition today announcing a new order for the Citation XLS+ business jet in China.
FT Business Jets Co. Ltd., based in Shanghai, plans to offer charter operations in China, matching the XLS+’s range and efficiency with customers’ business and personal travel needs. The aircraft will be delivered later this year by Cessna-AVIC Aircraft (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd., a joint venture with China Aviation Industry General Aviation Company Ltd. (CAIGA).
“The Citation XLS+ has gained a reputation globally as a top performer in terms of cost and performance; a reputation that now extends to charter operators in China,” said Bill Schultz, senior vice president, Business Development, China.
“The XLS+ has the cabin size and amenities required for today’s business executive, and it has the performance and operating efficiency unparalleled in the midsize jet segment.”
As part of Cessna’s continued investment in the growth of China’s midsize business jet market, the company is today hosting the first Citation XLS+ Operator Conference for customers in China. The event, held in Shanghai, is focused on sharing best practices for midsize jet ownership and includes product and aftermarket service experts, and private and charter jet operators.
The Citation XLS+ is the first deliveries from the Cessna-AVIC (Zhuhai) Co. Ltd. joint venture were celebrated in November. This new business jet is the latest incarnation in the best-selling Excel-XLS family. It was certified for Chinese operations in early 2014 by the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC),
This new business jet model from Cessna has an unparalleled combination of comfort, ease of operation, range of mission capabilities and favorable operating efficiencies. The aircraft provides customers access from Beijing to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Shanghai, well within a one-day trip. Inside is the largest cabin in its class with nearly 19 feet (5.64 meters) of length, a dropped aisle that provides 68 inches (173 cm) of height the entire length of the cabin and seating for up to 12 passengers. It travels as fast as 441 knots (817 kilometers/hour) with a range of more than 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 kilometers), departing from runways as short as 3,560 feet (1,085 meters).
More than 6,750 Citations have been delivered to customers around the world since the first Citation business jet was put into service in 1972. Citations are the largest fleet of business jets in the world and have surpassed 31 million flight hours.
Cessna and CAIGA formed the joint venture in 2012 to assemble and deliver Citation XLS+ business jets for Chinese customers. Operations in China include final assembly, paint, testing, interior installation, customization, flight testing and delivery.
The company has also announced today its joint venture operation in Shijiazhuang has gained initial approval for Caravan Model 208 series maintenance by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) during the second quarter of 2015.
Initial CAAC Part 145 maintenance approval grants to Cessna-AVIC (Shijiazhuang) Co. Ltd. the ability to perform all maintenance procedures required by the manufacturer up to 100 flight hours.
“Providing company-direct maintenance is an important step for our joint venture to eventually provide complete life-cycle support for the growing fleet of Caravan aircraft in China,” said Jackie Chen, general manager of the new company.
“Having the maintenance facility located with our Grand Caravan EX production facility provides the most efficient setup for customers in the region.”
The Cessna-AVIC Aircraft (Shijiazhuang) Co., Ltd., joint venture was one of two signed in early 2012. The joint venture company in Shijiazhuang is responsible for final assembly, paint, interior installation, customization, flight testing and delivery of Grand Caravan EX turboprops for the Chinese market. The Cessna-AVIC Aircraft (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd. is responsible for similar operations to assemble and deliver Citation XLS+ business jets in China.
Orders for Grand Caravan EX aircraft from customers in China, particularly orders for amphibian models from aerial tour operators, have been robust through the first 18 months of joint venture operations. Customers include Meiya Air for aerial sightseeing in Wuzhizhou Island of Sanya; Joy Air, for charter tourism flights among Shanghai, Zhoushan and Shengsi Islands; and Reignwood Group.
The aircraft manufacturer has also secured orders from four companies in China for the Skyhawk 172, further demonstrating the aircraft’s continued leadership in pilot training.
“The Cessna Skyhawk is the world’s most popular and technologically advanced flight training aircraft, and we are pleased to see operators in China recognizing its capabilities,” said Kevin Wu, vice president, International Sales, Greater China and Mongolia Region.
“The opening of China’s low-altitude airspace has boosted the pilot training market, attracting an increasing number of general aviation companies into this area.”
A summary of recent order activity includes:
• Hubei Sky Blue International Aviation Academy, a Part 141 flight training provider that now also offers Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) training, has placed an order for five Skyhawks. These aircraft will join a fleet of 18 Skyhawks currently in service with the company.
• Shanghai Avieye GA, a Part 91 general aviation operator, has ordered one standard configuration Cessna Skyhawk and one Skyhawk with amphibious floats to begin PPL and CPL training. The company also operates a Grand Caravan EX single-engine utility turboprop in its fleet, which supports aerial mapping missions.
• Zhejiang Avieast GA, an established general aviation company in the Zhejiang province, has ordered two Skyhawks for pilot training purposes as well as two Turbo Stationair T206H aircraft for tourism flights.
• Shandong Hairuo GA, a Part 91 general aviation operator, has confirmed an order for two Skyhawks to be used in Part 141 training.
With the increase in general aviation activity in China, the company has continued to strengthen its presence in the region by bolstering its sales and support for customers. Cessna recently added Shandong Hairuo GA and Hubei Sky Blue International Aviation Academy as authorized sales representatives and an authorized customer service and support facilities for its single-engine aircraft.