At the end of the 1960s, Cessna wanted to use its experience in light aircraft construction to conquer the lucrative business jet segment. With comparatively low operating and construction costs, it was to succeed in developing a safe and easy-to-handle jet. With the first delivery of the Cessna Citation 500, this vision became reality. Since then, Cessna has improved its existing portfolio in countless iterations and adapted it to market developments. It is above all consistency and longevity that distinguish the Cessna aircraft families: Unlike many of its competitors, the Kansas-based aircraft manufacturer has been largely spared existential crises.
Comparable to its competitors Gulfstream, Embraer and Bombardier, Cessna aircraft also cover a broad spectrum: the fleet covers ranges between 1,300 and 6,482 kilometers and offers space for up to 19 passengers, depending on the configuration. In distinction to the competition, Cessna is currently only represented up to the super-midsize jet category due to its history as a manufacturer of light aircraft. Larger jets with greater range are not yet part of the program.
Prominent owners of a Cessna jet include ex-US President Donald Trump (Citation X), Hollywood star Harrison Ford (Cessna Citation Sovereign) and, according to rumors, tennis star Serena Williams (Citation Excel/XLS).
Cessna private jet charter: key data of the aircraft manufacturer
Leading American aircraft brand active in the private aviation segment for over 90 years
After several changes of ownership, Cessna has been part of the Textron conglomerate since 1992
More than 6,900 aircraft manufactured, 97% of which remain in service
Approximately $3.96 billion in Aviation segment revenue (2020)
More than 10,000 employees in the Textron Aviation business segment
Top seller: The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is the best-selling aircraft of all time
Cessna was named after the U.S. aircraft designer and pilot Clyde Vernon Cessna, who founded Cessna Aircraft Company Inc. in 1927.
The Cessna business jet family is named after the American racehorse Citation, which won the 1948 American Triple Crown racing series
The Beechcraft brand (known for the Beechcraft Bonanza light aircraft) is also part of Textron Aviation. The long-established aircraft manufacturer was acquired as a result of bankruptcy in 2014
Winners of prestigious industry awards
1986: Cessna receives the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy for the safety of its Citation fleet
1997: Cessna is again the winner of the National Aeronautic Association's Robert J. Collier Trophy. This time, the Citation X and its design team are honored.
2005: Cessna receives Flying Magazine's Editors' Choice Award for its Citation Sovereign.
Company management: Ron Draper (CEO and President Textron Aviation)
Cessna's evolution from a mass-produced light aircraft manufacturer to a private aviation all-rounder with an exclusive business jet portfolio
More than nine decades ago, a small aircraft company in Wichita, Canada, began building a monoplane that used a wing without support struts or braces. The Cessna Model A, which made its first flight on August 13, 1927, had a lasting impact on aviation: Clyde Cessna's cantilever design has been standard ever since.
In the years that followed, Cessna launched other aircraft: the AW, the CW-6, the DC-6, and finally the CR series of racing aircraft. The latter was the main reason that the company was able to survive the Great Depression, despite a catastrophic decline in aircraft sales. From the middle and until the end of the 20th century, the Cessna brand was one of the best-selling and most versatile aircraft in the world.
With the takeover by the defense contractor General Dynamics, production of the Cessna small aircraft was initially discontinued. After a seven-year pause in production, the type series were produced again from 1992 - following the sale of Cessna to Textron Inc. In 2014, Cessna was merged from its joint parent company with Hawker Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. However, both brand names were retained for marketing purposes.
The year 1972 marked the entry into the business jet segment. Cessna had set out to combine the advantages of small propeller aircraft in terms of handling, operating and construction costs with the performance of a jet. The symbiosis succeeded and under the name Citation I (model: Citation 500) the first jet was handed over to its new owners. What the first model lacked was made up for in 1977 with a revised variant: single-pilot certification.
The Citation II (Model 550), an extended version equipped with the more powerful Pratt & Whitney JT15D-4 engine, followed in 1978. In the decades that followed, Cessna became a major player in the jet-powered business aircraft segment. Through continuous technical developments in countless variants, Cessna was able to maintain and expand the competitiveness of its fleet. Particularly in terms of range and economy, the eager American aircraft manufacturer regularly made its mark.
Cessna had an image problem in the early years with regard to the speed of its jets: they were considered comfortable and practical, but slow. Comparable Learjets often flew 100 km/h faster and allowed shorter travel times.
But Cessa was not prepared to accept this: In October 1990, a new business jet, the Citation X (Model 750), was introduced and applied to revolutionize the entire business jet segment. With a maximum cruising speed of 972 km/h, it is still considered one of the fastest business jets in the world.
With more than 7,500 Citation series aircraft delivered, Cessna now has the largest business jet fleet.
Today's Cessna Business Jet Portfolio
Currently, Cessna's fleet includes six aircraft families in the business jet segment:
Citation Longitude: Transatlantic range, advanced technology and a luxurious cabin experience - all combined with comparatively low operating costs for a super-midsize jet.
Citation Latitude: The Latitude jet offers a wide, flat floor in a 1.83-meter-high stand-up cabin. With a range of 5,278 kilometers, non-stop travel from Los Angeles to New York or Geneva to Dubai is possible in comfort. It's not without reason that the Latitude is the best-selling midsize business jet of the past three years.
Citation XLS+: The Citation XLS+ offers transcontinental range and remarkable efficiency in an elegant midsize jet. The premium leather seats are extra wide and allow for a fully reclined position for optimal comfort.
Citation CJ4 Gen2: The new Citation CJ4 Gen2 jet is masterfully designed and exquisitely crafted. From the very first moment, it offers a special travel experience. Passengers appreciate the all-new CoolView skylights, upgraded seats and all-wireless cabin management system.
Citation CJ3+: The Citation CJ3+ jet combines reliability with maximum productivity and comfort. It is the perfect combination of range and speed, enabling take-off and landing even from particularly high or hot airports.
Citation M2: The M2 jet is a popular entry-level jet and the perfect symbiosis of aesthetics and efficiency. It is suitable for single-pilot operation and can reach cruising speeds of up to 748 km/h thanks to its two powerful Williams FJ44 engines.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much does a Cessna cost?
Since there are many variants and equipment options of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, the acquisition costs of the entry-level model vary considerably. For a brand-new Skyhawk, you have to reckon with around $400,000. On the used market, however, a 172 is available for as little as $300,000. The price of Cessna's flagship, the Citation Longitude, on the other hand, is a hefty $27.5 million. This puts its price at about the same level as Bombardier's Challenger 350, with which it is often compared.
How many aircraft does Cessna build per year?
Between 2018 and 2020, Textron Aviation delivered between 473 and 600 aircraft. The Cessna Citation series of jet-powered business jets accounted for about one-third of the deliveries.
|Year||Aircraft delivered (total)||Delivered Cessna Jets (Citation Series)|
Where are the Cessna airplanes built?
All Cessna aircraft families are manufactured in the USA and Mexico. The main U.S. production facilities are located in Wichita and Independence, Kansas, and Columbus, Georgia. The Mexican Cessna production plant is in Chihuahua. In the late 2000s, Cessna outsourced production of the Cessna 162 Light Sport Aircraft to China. However, when the model was phased out, production in China also came to an end in 2013.
What engines are used in Cessna aircraft?
Cessna uses engines from Honywell, Pratt & Whitney and Williams International in its fleet.
|Citation Longitude||Honeywell HTF7700L|
|Citation Latitude||Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D1|
|Citation XLS+||Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545C|
|Citation CJ4 Gen2||Williams International FJ44-4A|
|Citation CJ3+||Williams International FJ44-3A|
|Citation M2||Williams International FJ44-1AP-21|