Textron: Citation Production To Roll Back In 2017

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A sluggish end to 2016 will result in production cutbacks for Cessna business jets this year, Textron Aviation said Wednesday. The company delivered 58 Citation jets in the fourth quarter of 2016, down from 60 in the same period for 2015. Meanwhile, deliveries of new Beechcraft King Air turboprops fell from 33 in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 28 in 2016. Fourth-quarter profit fell to $135 million in 2016 from $138 million the year prior. The Wichita Eagle reported that while its midsize Citation Latitude jet has seen success last year, the company will roll back production of other models in the series, which include the Mustang, CJ4 and Sovereign. Textron CEO Scott Donnelly didn’t specify how many Citations are expected to be produced this year, but said some sales in the fourth quarter fell through, the Eagle reported. “We saw a lot of price pressure,” Donnelly said. “We traded out some volume because … we’re not willing to go to the price levels people want us to go.”

The news comes after a year of soft jet sales for Textron, which has been scaling back its workforce. The Wichita-based company restructured in October after announcing layoffs at its regional facilities and launching an early-retirement program. It has a regional workforce of more than 9,000 employees. Efforts to boost sales will focus on the Latitude model, which is expected to see delivery growth, according to the Wichita Business Journal. Meanwhile, two more Citations in the series are in the works. The super-midsize Longitude jet is undergoing flight testing and is on schedule to achieve certification by year’s end, the Journal reported. The larger Citation Hemisphere is under development and is expected to begin test flights in 2019.

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