Market Analysis: Citation CJ3+ launch in numbers


The recent Citation CJ3+ launch is the latest in a long line of Citation’s to be ‘plussed’.
Cessna Citation CJ3+

The Cessna Citation CJ3+

Textron Aviation, the umbrella company that encompasses Beechcraft, Bell and Cessna, recently launched the Citation CJ3+, the latest in a long line of Citation’s to be upgraded.

ALSO SEE: Cessna launches CJ3+ private jet

Although Cessna began ‘plussing’ its aircraft with the introduction of the Citation Encore+, the first of the CitationJet’s to get the plus sign after its name was the CJ1, which was itself an upgraded version of the original CitationJet that was launched back in 1989.

Following 551 combined CitationJet and CJ1 deliveries, the CJ1+ was introduced in 2006, which focused in on better performance than the original model.

For the CJ1+ Cessna aimed to increase take-off capabilities, cruise speed, and climb rates over the CJ1, with the performance upgrades achieved largely due to an update to the Williams FJ44 engines, with the new -1AP variant adding Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).

But following a drop-off in deliveries between 2008 and 2011, 2010 being the worst year when only three aircraft were delivered, Cessna announced in March 2011 that production would cease later that year. All told, during the six years that the CJ1+ was produced, Cessna delivered a total of 101 aircraft.

Between the CJ1 and CJ1+ launch, Cessna unveiled the CJ2, a five foot one inch stretch of the CJ1 that could carry an additional two passengers.

ALSO SEE: Cessna Citation CJ2+: Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide

First deliveries for the Citation CJ2 took place during 2000, with Cessna delivering 224 aircraft before the introduction of the CJ2+ in 2006.

Cessna again focused on better performance for the CJ2+ than the non plus version, with updated Williams FJ44-3A-24 dual-channel FADEC engines giving better fuel consumption and thrust settings.

As of March 2014 Cessna has delivered 223 CJ2+, with the latest aircraft delivered at the end of January to a Brazilian operator.

As an aside, a curious fact is that the last straight CJ1 and the last straight CJ2 were both delivered to Asian customers.

CJ1 MSN 525-0558 / B-3650 was one of six CJ1s delivered to the Civil Aviation Flight University of China, who would later take delivery of a single CJ1+, whilst CJ2 MSN 525A-0244 was delivered to Auto Panther Company in Japan as JA525C, who would later take delivery of a CJ2+.

At the National Business Aviation Administrations (NBAA) convention in 2002 Cessna launched, what would then be, the largest variant of the CitationJet family, the CJ3.

ALSO SEE: Citation CJ3: Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide

Based on the 500+ selling CJ2, the CJ3 stretched the the CJ2 fuselage by 24 inches and introduced up-rated Fadec-controlled Williams FJ44-3A engines each capable of producing 2,780-lb-thrust.

Up-front the CJ3 was the launch aircraft for the Rockwell-Collins File Server Unit (FSU), a system that speeds up processing for the Pro Line 21 avionics suite.

Following a certification effort that involved three test aircraft, the CJ3 was certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October 2004, with the first aircraft handed over to its new owner in December of the same year.

To date, 410 CJ3’s have been delivered, with 73 per cent in operation in the US.

Elsewhere the numbers are lower, with Brazil having the second highest concentration with 6 per cent of all aircraft. Germany, a country well known for a high concentration of CitationJets, has the third highest population of CJ3s, with 16 aircraft (4 per cent).

The rest of the list of operating countries shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as it broadly follows the totals for all business jets operated globally, however Slovakia and Ukraine propping up the bottom of the list can be seen as validation of the aircraft’s charter credentials.

Cessna will be hoping that the sales of the CJ3+ will match the sales of the straight CJ3, with the CJ3+ starting at MSN 525B-0451 later in the year.