Cessna Deals With Ups And Downs

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Charlie Johnson Takes The Reins At Cessna-Wichita ...

Cessna recently had a changing of the guard in Wichita. As of March 10, Charlie Johnson took charge of Cessna's Wichita operation. He reports directly to Textron Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Loranger.

"For more than 20 years, Charlie has been a major contributor to the success of our company. Under his leadership, I am confident we will emerge from the current economic uncertainty with new and improved products ready to serve a growing aviation market," said Cessna Chairman and CEO Russ Meyer.

Johnson originally joined Cessna in 1979 as manager of production flight test. He served in a variety of positions in quality control and product support before being named vice president, aircraft completion and product support in 1988. He was promoted to senior vice president, operations in 1993, executive vice president of operations in 1995, and was named president and chief operating officer in 1997.

... As The CJ3 Comes To Life ...

One of Johnson's first duties was to revel in the birth of Cessna's baby jet. The Citation CJ3ís first engine run and taxi was successfully completed on March 13 at Cessna Field located in east Wichita. The CJ3 uses the new Williams International FJ44-3A engines. With 2,780 pounds of thrust, the FJ44-3A has 14% more takeoff thrust and 12% more cruise thrust than the FJ44-2C, the engine used on the CJ2. The Citation CJ3 was introduced at the 2002 NBAA Convention. First flight is anticipated in the second quarter of 2003, with type certification in the second quarter of 2004. First customer deliveries are expected in the third quarter of 2004.

... While The Caravan Line Loses Momentum

Like most aircraft manufacturers, Cessna is experiencing a tough time for sales, and that translates to not enough work to go around. All production workers on the company's turboprop Caravan line will be furloughed for three weeks in May, and 125 jobs will be cut, The Wichita Eagle recently reported. The cutbacks follow a round of 1,200 jobs lost in February and about 800 last October. Cessna built 80 Caravans last year, and expects to sell fewer in 2003, though no numbers were available. Turboprops suffered the biggest drop in sales last year of all aircraft types monitored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Only 280 turboprops were sold in 2002, compared to 421 in 2001, a decline of 34 percent. Sales of single-engine pistons, bizjets, and piston twins all declined by about 12 percent.