Cessna Investing For The Future: Citation Latitude, Beechcraft heads for happier times, Business Aviation Relies Heavily on Aircraft Connectivity, Wheels Up CEO Says

In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) company SmartSky Networks has been making quite a splash since it’s emergence at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in Orlando, Fla., last week. With claims that the company’s 4G LTE Air-to-Ground (ATG) network will provide more than 10 times the typical speed and capacity of networks currently in the market, the new company is a serious competitor for existing IFC providers, such as Gogo.

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Five years ago, aircraft cabin connectivity was considered a luxury for commercial and private air transportation providers. Today, in the business aviation world, connectivity is not only an expectation, but also a crucial part of the decision-making process when considering what company or aircraft a traveler decides to use.

Business Aviation Relies Heavily on Aircraft Connectivity, Wheels Up CEO Says

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The last five years have not been easy for customers of Hawker or Beechcraft-branded aircraft. With hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars invested, those loyal to the brand face a gloomy future for assets whose value is substantially based on whether there is a commercial system available to support them.

Beechcraft King Air 250

For many years it all seemed to be moving in the wrong direction. First, there were bizarre-yet-futile moves by then-Hawker Beechcraft management to take the company out of Wichita, Kansas – the firm’s home since 1932. A plunge into bankruptcy in 2012 amplified fears that a worst-case scenario – liquidation – was possible. Amid bankruptcy proceedings in the summer of 2012, Hawker Beechcraft suddenly entered into exclusive negotiations with an almost unknown Chinese company, Superior Aviation Beijing. That plan fell apart for reasons never explained to Beechcraft’s executives.

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Under the metallic and composite skin of Gulfstream’s new G500 and G600 lie several new innovations that came to light in supplier announcements and interviews at the NBAA convention.

A key theme from Gulfstream in the 14 October unveiling of the two jet designs is a goal to migrate the Mach 0.935 maximum speed, cabin comfort and fly-by-wire technology of the G650 to a slightly smaller, shorter-range class of aircraft.

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The power of new-product introductions to stimulate market demand across business aviation has been proven time and again. Case in point: Cessna Aircraft.

Fifty percent of the models it will deliver during the next two years are aircraft that were certified within just the last 12 months, such as the Citation Latitude and the CJ3A. Observes Cessna CEO Scott Ernest: “It’s important to keep our [product development] pipeline full.”

Cessna Investing For The Future: Citation Latitude

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