As expected, Cessna was the top bidder for Columbia Aircraft, paying $26.4 million for "select assets" of the bankrupt Bend, Ore., planemaker. The bankruptcy auction was held Tuesday afternoon. CEO Jack Pelton said the company will invest money in the Bend plant, make sure existing owners are looked after and will keep making the two aircraft models under the name Cessna 350 and Cessna 400. "The Columbia models are a good fit with our existing product line," Pelton said in a news release. "We look forward to providing existing Columbia owners with improved levels of service and support and introducing new customers to these outstanding aircraft."
The transaction is expected to be completed Dec. 4 and the Cessna logo will go up on the Bend plant. Pelton said it's good news for the existing employees and those who own Columbia aircraft. "We plan to make significant investments in Bend, in people and operations, to bolster customer satisfaction and business profitability. We will continue to improve quality, reliability and performance as we strive to deliver customer value and fulfill our commitments," Pelton said. Among the big changes for existing Columbia owners is access to Cessna's full parts and service network.