Cessna Exec Predicts Upturn Soon; SATSAir Thrives

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"We think we're probably close to the bottom" may not seem like the most optimistic words about the global economy, but the upside is that the sooner we get to the bottom, the sooner we start back up. That was the take from Roger Whyte, Cessna's senior vice president for sales and marketing, on Monday as he delivered two new Citation XLS+ jets to a customer. Whyte told the Wichita Eagle that a little historical perspective helps in keeping a positive outlook -- the bizjet business has been through slow times in the past, he said, before it boomed in the last 10 years or so. And even with the projected decline in deliveries for the next couple of years, the numbers aren't expected to fall below where the industry was in 2005, he said.

Meanwhile, SATSAir has found an aviation business model that works, with record growth last year despite a slight downturn in the fourth quarter. The South Carolina air-taxi company operates a fleet of Cirrus SR22s, serving hundreds of airports in the eastern U.S. "We're extremely pleased with the strong 2008 numbers and the expanded presence in the Southeastern growth corridor that they represent," said Steve Hanvey, SATSAir president and CEO. "2008 was a landmark year for our business concept from a financial perspective and signals a growing acceptance of this innovative approach to business and personal air travel." Cancellation of airline operations into regional hubs and reduced use of personally owned aircraft contributed to increased demand for SATSAir services, according to the company. SATSAir launched in November 2004 and so far has flown 14,000 flights and covered more than 11 million passenger miles.