By Kerry Lynch
Cessna last week restarted the Citation Sovereign line, bringing back to life the last of the production lines that were shuttered early last summer. The company recalled 60 workers last week, with plans to recall 120 more over the next two weeks. The workers initially will undergo training before rejoining the line. “All of our assembly lines are back up and running,” a Cessna spokesman said, but added, “albeit, at greatly reduced rates.”
Cessna originally had planned to deliver 535 jets in 2009, but the free-falling general aviation market pushed that number down to 275. Cessna expects to build even fewer jets this year, but further layoffs are not expected.
Cessna had laid off more than 8,000 workers – or about half of its work force – last year. The company’s actions were designed to prepare Cessna for the much lower production rates going forward, the Cessna spokesman said. “We think that’s where we are now,” he said, “We think the company’s sized for planned production in 2010.” Cessna parent Textron is expected to further define Cessna’s production plans when it releases its fourth quarter results and 2010 guidance on Jan. 28.
In addition to restarting Sovereign production, Cessna is increasing the build rate of the new eight-passenger, $8.75 million Citation CJ4, which had attracted 70 orders the day it was announced and more than 150 orders by the time the first production model rolled out Nov. 16. While the first production CJ4 proceeds to completion, three flight test aircraft are in the process of earning certification so that customer deliveries will be on schedule in 2010.
Source: AVIATION WEEK