Oregon definitely isn’t Kansas but a key component of one Oregon town’s economy could be headed there. According to the Wichita Eagle, Cessna is one of as many as three suitors for Columbia Aircraft, which has been shopped around by the Malaysian government, its principal investors, for about a year. Analysts say acquiring Columbia would give Cessna instant penetration of the luxury touring market that it has all but surrendered to Cirrus and the current incarnation of Columbia (the 182 and 206 are not really considered in the same market segment by many analysts). Cessna’s interest could be an indication that its high-wing Next Generation Piston project has failed to strike a chord with dealers and potential owners and it has decided to enter the low-wing sweepstakes.
There are reportedly others interested in Columbia but if Cessna is truly in the market it has to be considered the front runner, or at least the eventual winner if someone else is really in the running. NBAA’s annual convention likely isn’t the chosen forum for this kind of announcement or discussion but CEO Jack Pelton will be at the Atlanta convention and it’s a question he’ll face.