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Mon, Oct 16, 2006

Cessna Looks At Large Cabin Bizjet Market

BIG News Already From NBAA

Quick quiz: what's one segment of the business jet market where Cessna doesn't have a competing model? After all, the Citation line already stretches from light jets (the Mustang) through the medium range segment (CJ-series) and on through the larger XLS and Citation X lines.

But there's still room to grow... specifically, into the large-cabin, intercontinental segment currently populated with the likes of Bombardier's Global Express... and Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton told attendees at NBAA Monday morning the company is looking to enter that market.

"Cessna has the world's most extensive business jet line, but many of our customers have indicated they would like to see a larger, longer-range jet in our product family," Pelton said. "We are here to get additional feedback from NBAA attendees, including what range and speed characteristics potential customers would prefer for a larger aircraft if we were to move forward with the program."

Following a similar model as the company's rollout of its LSA concept at Oshkosh this year, Cessna plans to gather feedback from customer groups and NBAA attendees throughout the upcoming year. The company will then evaluate a range of issues to determine if there is a favorable business case, before a decision on whether to proceed with the program is made at the end of 2007.

"With the largest fleet of business jets and the most extensive support network worldwide, we think this would be a logical extension to our product line, but we will not make that decision until we hear from our existing and potential customers and carefully evaluate the business case," Pelton said.

Cessna will unveil a mockup of the large cabin concept Tuesday morning at NBAA. Cessna will also use the opportunity to roll out mockups of the Citation CJ4 and XLS+.

The large cabin concept will be configured for nine passengers and two pilots. The mockup will feature a flat floor with a walk-in baggage compartment and a large refreshment area.

Avionics and engine remain unspecified at this investigative stage of the program, and it's important to note all specifications on this proof-of-concept mockup are subject to change (after all, that's why it's called a "proof-of-concept.")

Since the company was originally established in 1927, more than 187,000 Cessna airplanes have been delivered to nearly every country in the world. The global fleet of more than 4,500 Citations is the largest fleet of business jets in the world.

FMI: www.cessna.com

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