Cessna Announces Aircraft Upgrades

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Excel Upgraded to XLS Status ...

Cessna Aircraft unveiled it latest variant of a growing family of jet aircraft, the Citation XLS. Hailed as a faster derivative of the Citation Excel -- with a price tag of $9.895 million and described as "a logical step up for customers moving up from smaller light jets" -- the Excel's successor will feature many standard items that were only options before. Valued at about $600,000, these include a nine-place interior with a six-place center-club seating configuration, a two-place belted couch and an aft left-hand belted seat. New passenger seats will add two to four inches of cushion seat width, and on the flight deck crew seats from Goodrich Aerospace will be standard.

Cessna also announced the traditional cabin lighting in the XLS has been replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting; veneer cabinetry is now standard; and other new standard equipment includes an auxiliary power unit, a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) and enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). The cockpit is also equipped with Honeywell's emergency descent mode system.

The new jet will come with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B engines with 4.5-percent more takeoff thrust, providing the XLS with a max. cruise speed of 428 knots and a range of 2,110 nm (33 knots faster than the Excel and 30-nm better range. The MTOW has increased from 20,000 pounds to 20,200 pounds, the useful load from 7,510 pounds to 7,700 pounds, payload with max fuel from 720 pounds to 920 pounds, and climb to 45,000 feet has been reduced from 73 minutes to 25 minutes. Cessna expects certification of the Citation XLS in 1Q 2004, with first deliveries in the middle of the year.

... The X Also Gets A Facelift

Cessna also revealed upgrades planned for the Cessna Citation X, starting next year as standard equipment. Most notable will be the new passenger seats that are four inches wider, with armrests that fold back to allow easier access. Furniture will feature a new pin-in/pin-out attachment system to improve fit and finish. LED lighting is standard in the cabin, along with new cabin controls for lighting, cabin temperature, window shades and audio/video equipment. Other new options -- including the Max-Viz enhanced vision system (EVS) and Aircell satellite phones -- are also available for Citation X buyers.

The Citation X 2004 upgrades will begin with S/N 225, and Cessna anticipates deliveries will begin next year.