Beechcraft, Cessna Report On 2009 Downturn

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It's no secret that 2009 was a tough year for the U.S. economy, and year-end reports released last week by two industry stalwarts show how hard it's been for general aviation. Sales of business and GA aircraft at Hawker Beechcraft were down by about 30 percent in 2009 compared to the year before, the company reported. Deliveries in 2009 totaled 309, including 98 jets, 155 turboprops, and 56 piston aircraft. In 2008, sales in those categories totaled 441. Overall the company posted a net loss of $451 million for the year. Cessna also summed up the results of a bleak year last week, noting in a strategic review of 2009 that its workforce has been cut in half and the current business-jet down cycle is "unprecedented in severity." Textron, Cessna's parent company, projects that business-jet shipments will bottom out and start to rise again by the end of this year. Cessna's newest business jet, the CJ4, should start deliveries this summer, according to the report.

"Cessna will continue to invest in new aircraft," the company said in its report. "Cessna's best days are still ahead." The company will emerge from the down cycle more competitive, the report concludes.