Ron Draper confirms Textron back above pre-pandemic levels


Textron Aviation’s president and CEO Ron Draper said the firm is seeing positive metrics that signal increasing demand, including fleet utilisation. Draper said utilisation has exceeded pre-pandemic levels by around 15% since April.

The number of used Citations for sale is down to 4% of the in-service fleets, the lowest level in nearly 30 years. “That’s of any Citation,” Draper explained. “That could be 20-, 25-year-old airplanes. Most people actually want something less than 10 years old.” Also, the percentage of first-time buyers has doubled to 20%, Draper said.

The OEM’s CJ4 Gen2 had a good backlog, since its launch in February. The aircraft subsequently received FAA interior certification and was certified by EASA in June.

Meanwhile, the twin-turboprop SkyCourier is about 75% of the way through its FAA flight certification. While much of the focus on the SkyCourier has been its cargo capability, there is also a lot of interest in it as a 19-seat passenger aircraft. “We think we’re going to see a lot of demand on that side,” Draper said.

Textron Aviation’s turboprop-single Denali is expected to make its first flight by year-end. “We’d be selling a ton of these right now. We have a lot of customer interest in it. But we’re a couple of years away from that entering service,” said Draper.