Business Jet Sales Continue to Soar

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Cessna will deliver almost as many business jets next year as the entire industry did a few years ago, and CEO Jack Pelton says there's no end in sight to the jet boom. "Last year, we delivered 307 business jets. This year we expect to deliver 380. Next year, we plan to deliver 470," said Pelton, "This extraordinary rate of growth is being driven by strong economies and corporate profits and a rapidly-emerging global marketplace." In 2003, the total number of business jets shipped was 518. Cessna's backlog is at $11 billion, a record high, and it has more than 2,700 aircraft on order, half of them jets.

Nearly half of those jet orders have come in the first eight months of this year. The company builds eight jets and is developing two more, the XLS+ and the CJ4. The XLS+ flew for the first time on Aug. 2 and first flight of the single-pilot CJ4 is expected in the first half of 2008. Certification of the XLS+ is expected in 2008 and the CJ4 should be certified in 2010. A large-cabin aircraft in the same league as Gulfstreams and Bombardiers is also under review.