Cessna Goes Large With Citation Hemisphere


Image courtesy of cessna.txtav.com

NOTE: The below originally appeared as the editorial in our November 17 One Minute Week newsletter. To find out more, and sign up for free, please click here.


Today’s launch of the Cessna Hemisphere is a genuinely exciting one for Textron Aviation. The $30 – $33 million, 4,500 nautical mile aircraft will have the largest cabin in its class and compete with the G450. The cabin is wider than a G650 and a similar width to the Falcon 5X.

It is telling that Textron has the confidence to go on the offensive against other manufacturers. For many years it has had to defend against others coming into its market.

One of the company’s rarely highlighted strengths is its ability to get aircraft certificated and buyers can be pretty confident that it will deliver in 2019.

Textron’s two Scotts (Scott Donnelly and Scott Ernest) deserve real credit for not wasting a crisis.

Both joined from GE Aviation. Donnelly in 2008 – when few realized how bad things were going to be – and Ernest in 2011- when few realized how long things were going to be bad for.

Historically, Cessna has been hit first and hardest in downturns. But then it has recovered first and recovered faster than its rivals. This cycle has not been like that.  Cessna was hit hardest and, because we have not seen a small business recovery, is still having a tough time. In October Cessna’s backlog was $1.4 billion, in October 2008 it was $15.6 billion.

But even though sales are still hard, the company is in a much stronger state than it was in 2009. CEOs rarely get praised for doing less-glamourous things like integrations or reorganizing supply chains, even when they are crucial. Ernest has done both.

He waited to buy Beechcraft and has integrated it well. He has reshaped the company. He probably deserves more credit for this than he will get for the launch of the Hemisphere. But at least he is getting credit now.