Textron Upbeat For 2011

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Textron, the parent company of both Cessna and Bell Helicopter, reports that business was up in the fourth quarter of 2010, and more growth is expected for 2011. "An improving commercial outlook, combined with accelerating investments in new product development, should support top-line growth across our manufacturing businesses," said CEO Scott Donnelly. "We're particularly encouraged by the pick-up in business jet and commercial helicopter demand." Those sales were driven in part by the impact of bonus depreciation in the United States, Donnelly said, but relative stability in global economies and improving business confidence is also having an impact. Cessna's revenues increased $105 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 from the same period in the prior year, reflecting higher overall volume, including the delivery of 79 business jets, compared to 68 in 2009.

Cessna also said last month the pace of Skycatcher arrivals from Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, in China, is increasing. The company is on track to deliver 150 Skycatchers this year, including the first models featuring the McCauley two-blade, fixed-pitch composite propeller. Also, Cessna said it has posted the complete Pilot's Operating Handbook for the Skycatcher online (PDF). Cessna's Bob Stangarone spoke with AVweb's Paul Bertorelli last month at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla.; click here for that podcast, featuring an update on the Skycatcher program.