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Cessna Trims Fat Amid Tough Times

Cessna Cutting Turbine Production, Furloughs Workers ...

Cessna Aircraft, reacting to "uncertain worldwide economic conditions," announced a series of measures in late March to reduce production of its turbine-powered aircraft models and cut personnel costs through furloughs and layoffs. The Wichita-based manufacturer said it is again reducing the production schedule for its Caravan turboprop and Citation business jet lines. A final determination of production rates was not completed by our deadline, but in a statement, Cessna projected 2003 Citation deliveries to be "in the range of 180-195 aircraft." The company now expects to produce about 50 Caravan utility aircraft, down from 80 Caravan deliveries in 2002.

As a result of the production cutbacks at Cessna, its parent company, Textron, said it "will be reducing its 2003 earnings guidance," adding that the company "will communicate new earnings targets after it has completed negotiations and has fully assessed the impact on its business."

In order to align the workforce with the new production schedules, Cessna plans to implement a seven-week furlough for about two-thirds of its workforce from June 2 through July 18. Workers can use accrued vacation or sick leave to remain on the payroll, but otherwise furloughed workers will not be paid for those six weeks. In addition, the company plans to begin notifications March 31 of more than 1,200 employees whose jobs are being eliminated. About 6,000 employees will be affected by the furlough. Cessna currently has 9,200 employees in the Wichita area and 10,800 worldwide.

... While Cutting Benefits, Outsourcing Work ...

Acting to offset the effect of lower earnings, Cessna is also looking at outsourcing activities not related to building airframes. "We're still looking at what's the best thing for our customers, (and) how we can build the best possible product for the best cost and quality that we possibly can," Cessna spokeswoman Marilyn Richwine told The Wichita Eagle. Overall, Textron plans to do more global outsourcing. As Cessna prepares to lower production and cut 1,200 jobs, it is also looking at other cost-cutting measures, including whether to reduce some employee benefits. "Cessna has cut some of the costs associated with the way benefits are delivered to employees," said Richwine. For example, workers can go online to view information on their pension plans. And at the first of the year, Cessna changed the health care plans of nonunion represented employees. Without a vote by Machinists union members, no changes can be made to benefits in the labor agreement, which expires in September 2004.

... As Cancelled Orders Are To Blame ...

Aside from the economic downturn, Cessna is dealing with a slew of cancelled orders for aircraft. "The current economic and geopolitical situation has worsened and is affecting business jet demand much more severely than expected," said Textron in a statement. "Most significantly, one of Cessna's largest customers recently informed the company of a significant reduction in the number of jets that it plans to purchase in 2003," Textron said. The statement added that Cessna is "currently in negotiations with the customer to determine the specific changes." Textron lowered its earnings outlook for this year as it faces economic uncertainty and the cancellation of the business-jet orders, which have been linked to NetJets, the fractional jet operator. Full-year earnings per share now are expected to be between $2.40 and $2.60, compared with an earlier estimate of $3.05. Cessna plans to deliver between 180 and 195 jets this year, instead of an earlier expectation of 220.

... And The Company Focuses On New Programs

Cessna reports the new CJ3 is slated to make its first flight sometime in May. The company also reports its largest jet, the Sovereign, is also progressing as planned.

Cessna has selected the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system for the new Citation Mustang business jet. The Mustang panel features a 15-inch multi-function display (MFD), located next to pilot and co-pilot 10-inch primary flight displays (PFDs). All information -- from aircraft attitude and air data to engine instrumentation, real-time weather data link, traffic and terrain -- is integrated and digitally depicted on the dual large-format PFDs and MFD.

The Garmin 1000 also features:

  • Dual integrated radio modules that provide WAAS-capable IFR oceanic-approved GPS; VHF navigation with ILS; and VHF communication with 16-watt transceivers and 8.33-kHz channel spacing
  • Dual Mode-S transponders with Traffic Information Service
  • Dual solid-state Attitude and Heading Reference Systems
  • Dual RVSM-compliant digital air data computers
  • Three-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System
  • Four-color digital weather radar
  • Integrated Class-B Terrain Awareness and Warning System with worldwide terrain and obstacle database

Introduced at NBAA 2002, the Citation Mustang will be certified as a FAR Part 23 aircraft, with cruise speed of 340 knots, and a maximum operating altitude of 41,000 feet. Cessna anticipates type certification in mid-2006 with first customer deliveries in the fourth quarter 2006.

Bombardier Adjusts With The Times

Bombardier Chief Seeks Strategy Shift ...

The new boss at Bombardier has shifted the company's strategy to consolidation and cost-cutting from the rapid growth of its recent past, according to a newspaper report. The National Post reports that Bombardier chief executive Paul Tellier said his mandate is to "change the culture" at the conglomerate, which had previously focused on doubling revenue every five years. Tellier said Bombardier Capital, the company's financing arm, isn't a core activity and could eventually be sold. The newspaper said Tellier also hopes to reform the company's complex accounting practices and make them "simple enough so a high-school student could understand them." Tellier also indicated he wanted to ensure all board committees are chaired by outside directors as a means to make the company a model of corporate governance.

... As Company Eyes Niche With Europe Charter Jets

On March 26, Bombardier launched a fixed-rate chartered jet service in Europe aimed at travelers concerned about security on scheduled commercial airlines. Bombardier said security concerns, such as those sparked by war in Iraq, results in additional travel alternatives. "Business jets afford users more security and anonymity than commercial flying, and demand often increases in times of geopolitical instability," the company said in a statement. The launch of Bombardier Skyjet Europe will involve networking charter operators using some 50 Bombardier business jets, including the Learjet, production of which has been temporarily suspended since late last year on weak demand. Prices per hour on jets seating seven to 15 people begin at 4,100 euros ($4,400) and flights can be arranged within Europe and to points beyond, the company said.

EBACE 2003 Update

Marion Blakey Will Speak At EBACE 2003 ...

FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey will be the keynote speaker for the Opening General Session of EBACE 2003, to be held May 7 through 9 in Geneva, Switzerland. EBACE 2003 will commence with the Opening General Session from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 7 in the Geneva Palexpo Conference Center Meeting Rooms.

The session will also include: an update on business aviation, the operating environment and security issues, a European Commission Air Transport update, European Aviation Safety Authority updates, Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) updates and a European Union capacity and access briefing by Eurocontrol.

The Opening General Session will be hosted by EBAA Chairman Brian M. Humphries and NBAA President John W. Olcott. It also will include presentations by:

  • Claude Probst, European Commission Air Transport advisor
  • George Paulson, Eurocontrol director of safety, airspace, airports & information services
  • Georges Rebender, JAA director of operations

Visit the EBACE Web site to learn more about the EBACE2003 program schedule or to register.

... And Exhibit Registration Climbs

As of March 26, EBACE2003 representatives reported 587 booth spaces sold to 215 exhibiting companies, an increase of 13.9 percent in booth sales and 5.3 percent in exhibitors as compared to the same period leading up to EBACE2002 last year. Current sales for EBACE2003 are already ahead of the total 532 booth spaces sold for EBACE2002, held May 28 through 30, 2002. For more information, to register, or to exhibit at EBACE2003, visit the EBACE Web site.

Massachusetts Business Aviation Association Formed

A number of Massachusetts-based businesses with aviation interests and resident aircraft owners who fly both for business and personal reasons have formed a new organization called the Massachusetts Business Aviation Association (MBAA). The purpose of this non-profit association is to protect, promote and advocate the interests and needs of business and general aviation within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The association will address and respond to issues impacting the Massachusetts business and general aviation community including safety, security, operational effectiveness, community and government relations, and environmental concerns. The MBAA will solicit new members from corporate flight departments of Massachusetts-based companies, air charter companies based in Massachusetts, from owners and employees of businesses located at any of Massachusetts' 44 public-use airports, as well as from owners of the fleet of approximately 2,700 private aircraft based within the Commonwealth.

The MBAA will develop and support public-interest programs for its members and advocate on their behalf on issues affecting the safe and productive use of aircraft and airport facilities in and out of Massachusetts. The president of the MBAA is John I. Williams, Jr. Mr. Williams is vice chairman of Sentient Jet, a private jet membership company based in Norwell, Mass. Additional information about the MBAA is available at the new association's Web site.

Raytheon Workers Protest Plan to Outsource Work

Like other Wichita area aircraft manufacturers, Raytheon is planning to outsource some of its production work, but at the expense of drawing fire from its workers unions. The company is planning to outsource some work to foreign suppliers while the economic downturn persists. The company announced earlier this month that it is studying the capabilities of at least two companies in Mexico to make wire harnesses and panels, saying that the outsourcing is necessary to ensure long-term growth. This has caused an uproar from Raytheon employees who claim their livelihood is jeopardized by this latest cost-cutting move. A recent rally drew nearly 500 people to a Wichita area theater's parking lot. Carrying signs and chanting "USA! USA! USA!" the crowd of disgruntled employees let it be known that they did not appreciate the company's tactics. Stay tuned to AVweb's Biz Av for updates on this developing story.

Virtual Javelin Jet Flies

The Javelin Jet development program has celebrated a new -- albeit virtual -- milestone "The Javelin's performance is awesome. The flying experience is everything we hoped for and more," said George Bye, president of Aviation Technology Group (ATG), based in Englewood, Colo. Bye is referring to flights recently conducted in a new fixed-base flight simulator designed for the Javelin. ATG test pilot Robert Fuschino has been flying the simulator and says the handling qualities are good. ATG plans to develop the simulation as a flight training device and a marketing tool. Fuschino flew it in the landing configuration, in aerobatics, and in formation flight.

The company says the simulator accurately represents the Javelin performance and handling qualities, and is helping to fine-tune the micro-jet's design. Because of results from the simulations, the company said, the cant angle of the vertical fins will be reduced from 25 degrees to 15 degrees or so, and they will be made slightly smaller. This kind of preflight tweaking will save time and expense in the real-life test phase, the company said. Future Javelin owners will be offered a chance to fly the simulator in the near future, said Bye. The two-passenger all-metal jet is projected to sell at $2.2 million and fly to a certified ceiling of 49,000 feet with a range of 1,440 sm at 600 mph. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2006.

Naples To Appeal FAA Decision On Stage 2 Ban

Despite the March 11 FAA determination that the ban on Stage 2 aircraft operations imposed at Naples Municipal Airport (APF) violates the Federal Aviation Act and federal grant assurances, the City of Naples Airport Authority (NAA) announced that they will continue to enforce the ban. A copy of the NAA statement is available on their Web site. As a leading party in a lawsuit filed shortly after the airport imposed the ban, NBAA advises that it will continue to participate in the proceedings to "ensure that the integrity of the 65 dB noise contour is upheld and to defend the fundamental concept of Federal aviation grant assurances."

Westwind Expands Under Lease Agreement with Signature Aviation

Westwind, a Huntsville-based provider of military aviation technology, announced it has signed an agreement to manage the Signature Aviation hangar facilities at Huntsville International Airport. Operating as Westwind Aviation Services, Westwind will add up to 33,000 square feet to its current 12,000 square feet of hangar space on Redstone Arsenal. Westwind will also add to its core business of engineering, prototyping, and production modification of military aircraft to include maintenance services for general and corporate aviation. Westwind currently operates hangar facilities in Huntsville as the contractor/partner of PEO Aviation's Logistics Support Facility (LSF) at Redstone Arsenal.

NBAA Expands Coverage/Service at GA Desk

NBAA announced the expansion of coverage and services at its General Aviation (GA) Desk at the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) in Herndon, Va. The organization explains this expansion of services will provide for two-shift and overlapping coverage as necessary of the GA Desk seven days a week and allow for contingency 24-hour-a-day coverage over extended durations as required. NBAA established the GA Desk in August 2001 to represent the tactical aviation interests of its Member Companies to the FAA System Command Center staff and various ATC facilities throughout the United States.

NBAA To Celebrate 100 Years Of Aviation Maintenance

NBAA is inviting members of the business aviation community to celebrate the achievements of past and present aircraft maintenance technicians at the NBAA Maintenance Management Conference, this May 17 through 21 in Charlotte, N.C. This World Flight 2003 Centennial of Aviation Maintenance event also will honor Charles E. Taylor, mechanic and engine builder for the Wright Flyer and the "Father of Aviation Maintenance." The NBAA claims its Maintenance Management Conference is the only event that provides current and developing maintenance managers the opportunity to learn information and solutions about the latest issues affecting the business aviation maintenance community today. NBAA Associate Members are invited to exhibit at this special anniversary event. For more information about attending or exhibiting, visit NBAA's seminars Web site.

Anonymous Fractional Owner Donates Flight Time To Corporate Angel Network

NBAA reports that Corporate Angel Network (CAN), the national public charity that arranges free flights to treatment for cancer patients by using the empty seats on corporate aircraft, has announced the receipt of 75 hours of free flight time from a NetJets fractional aircraft owner from Greenwich, Conn. The anonymous donation is valued at more than $270,000. "Corporate Angel Network's program is a truly special gift," said Charlie Lynch, a vice president of NetJets. For donations and other information, please visit Corporate Angel Network's Web site.

New Jersey Wants A Lockdown On GA Aircraft

In New Jersey, James E. McGreevey announced on March 21 that aircraft left for more than 24 hours at any of the state's 486 licensed general aviation facilities must have a "two-lock" system. "Two-lock" apparently would lock the door and either the wheel or propeller. New Jersey is also going to install Web cams at the state's 47 public-use GA airports so police can watch them in real time and so images can be recorded at regular intervals.

Biz AV's AD Watch

Pilatus PC-12

A final rule is in effect for some Pilatus aircraft. This amendment -- which becomes effective May 12 -- adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that applies to certain Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Models PC-12 and PC- 12/45 airplanes. This AD requires owners/operators to replace certain push switch caps on the electrical power management overhead panel with parts of improved design. The FAA advises this AD is the result of mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the airworthiness authority for Switzerland. The agency claims actions specified by this AD are intended to prevent the inability to operate the switch, which could result in failure to activate the related operational system. According to the Swiss report, such failure could adversely affect the operation and control of the airplane.

Eurocopter

The FAA has issued a supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on certain Eurocopter aircraft. This amendment revises an earlier proposed airworthiness directive (AD) for Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Model AS 365 N3 and EC 155B helicopters that would have revised the Airworthiness Limitations section of the maintenance manuals by establishing a new service life limit for the Fenestron pitch change control rod. According to the FAA, the proposal was prompted by a failure of a control rod on a prototype helicopter that led to a precautionary landing. This action revises the proposed rule by requiring replacement of the control rod with an improved reinforced steel airworthy control rod. The agency claims the actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to prevent failure of the control rod, loss of control of the tail rotor, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

Raytheon Hawker Jets

A final rule is in effect for some Raytheon Hawker jets. This amendment -- which becomes effective May 8 -- adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain Raytheon Hawker jets, that requires inspection of the main landing gear (MLG) wheels to determine the part numbers of the tie-bolt nuts, and replacement of nuts that have the incorrect part number with nuts that have the correct part number. According to the FAA, the actions specified by this AD are intended to prevent separation of an MLG wheel due to loose or missing tie-bolts or tie-bolt nuts, with consequent damage to airplane structure or systems, decompression, loss of full braking ability, or injury to personnel on the ground. The agency claims this action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

Upcoming Biz Av Events

The following business aviation events will be held within the next few weeks:

FSF/NBAA Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar
April 22-24, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

EBACE2003
May 7-9, Geneva, Switzerland

Maintenance Management Conference
May 17-20, Charlotte, N.C.

Professional Development Program (PDP) Course
May 21, Charlotte, N.C.

Maintenance Manual Workshop
May 21, Charlotte, N.C.

Fourth FAA DRVSM Seminar
June 3-4, Chicago, Ill.


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