Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cessna CEO: Despite reducing rates, Cessna light jet production to continue

Cessna Aircraft CEO Scott Ernest reassured 400 Citation owners at a conference this week that, despite speculation, the company is not halting production on its jet products.

“Let me be clear,” Ernest said in a statement reiterating his remarks. “We are not halting production; we are simply reducing our production levels to meet current demand.”

Last week, Scott Donnelly, CEO of Textron, Cessna’s parent company, told analysts that Cessna is cutting production this year because of weak demand in its light jet products despite traditional leading economic indicators, such as corporate profits, looking better.

Cessna expects to deliver fewer jets this year than it did in 2012.

The challenge in reducing production schedules, Donnelly told analysts, is material that is already in-house.

“Clearly, one of the things that we’ll do as we go through the production change, is we’ll build things out to logical points in their build cycle so those aircraft are sort of in an appropriate stage of work-in-progress before we shut down various portions of the production line,” Donnelly said in the conference call with analysts. “That just means we’re going to have inventory, clearly, that’s going to roll over to the end of year as opposed to going out in sold aircraft.”

Cessna remains committed to Citation jet products, especially in the light jet segment, Ernest said in the statement.

“Citations lead the light jet segment and Cessna is fully committed to our current products in that category,” he said. “From the Citation Mustang up through the CJ4 and beyond, customers who turn to Cessna for aircraft solutions will continue to find a trusted partner who is focused on delivering reliable performance day in and day out

The company announced voluntary buyouts of salaried positions earlier this month to reduce costs.

It told employees last week that details about production cuts and workforce adjustments would be forthcoming.


Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz keynote speaker at Cessna Citation customer conference

Lou Holtz, motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football coach, will present the keynote address Wednesday at Cessna’s annual Citation customer conference.

Holtz’s speech is entitled “Game Plan for Success.”

The conference, attended by about 400 Cessna Citation owners and operators, began Monday with factory tours and a supplier sponsored reception.

It continues Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Wichita hotel and Century II.

The conference offers a variety of sessions, including technical reviews and sessions on new products, corrosion control, internal and external revitalizatin, how to increase the resale value of the aircraft and Federal Aviation Administration medical certification policies.



Pilot turned author to hold book signing at Watermark Books on Saturday

Wichita native Philip Donlay learned to fly at Riverside airport and earned his private pilot’s license at 17.

He then flew charter flights for Yingling Aviation, freight for Great Western Airlines and corporate jets for a Fortune 500 company. He was based in Wichita.

After more than 30 years as a professional pilot, Donlay was diagnosed with a medical condition that forced him to give up flying.

So he turned to another passion, writing.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Donlay will hold a book signing at Watermark Books for his third novel, Zero Separation, an aviation thriller.

A fourth novel is scheduled for release next year.

Donlay now divides his time between Minneapolis and the San Juan Islands.



SPEEA: Boeing to cut engineers and technical workers in the Northwest as it strives to send more work to Moscow

Boeing is pushing to send more engineering and technical work to its Moscow Design Center as it plans to cut its engineering and technical workforce in the Pacific Northwest, according to the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

Boeing said this week that it plans to cut its engineering and technical workforce by 1,500 to 1,700 people in the Northwest.

“We find it extremely disappointing that Boeing Commercial Airplanes is actively outsourcing engineering work to the Moscow Design Center while laying off employees in the Northwest,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director, said in a statement.

SPEEA is working to get more information.

The action to cut the workforce could result in 700 layoffs, SPEEA said.

The union and Boeing managers are helping employees find new positions within the company.






Allegiant to resume seasonal Wichita nonstop service to Los Angeles

In time to take the kids to meet Mickey this summer, Allegiant Air is resuming seasonal service from Wichita to Los Angeles.

Flights will operate two times a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning June 5.

They will leave Wichita at 9:15 p.m. Flights will depart Los Angeles at 3:40 p.m. Pacific time.

The service ends August 14.

Allegiant also operates service from Wichita to Las Vegas.


Cessna CEO Scott Ernest chosen campaign chairman for United Way of the Plains

Cessna Aircraft president and CEO Scott Ernest will serve as campaign chairman for the United Way of the Plains‘ 2013 campaign.

In his role, Ernest will lead the volunteers in the fundraising effort.

Ernest has been a supporter of the United Way as a member of the Tocqueville Society and in promoting the organization within Cessna

That resulted in a 20 percent increase in giving by Cessna employees.

“Being a native of Kansas and a longtime supporter of the United Way, I know the valuable role and impact the agency makes right here at home,” Ernest said in a statement. “I am honored to serve as this year’s campaign chair and know the contributions of each person change lives every day for our neighbors and colleagues.”

Beechcraft Corp. CEO to speak at Wichita Aero Club

Bill Boisture, Beechcraft Corp.’s CEO, will be the keynote speaker at the Wichita Aero Club’s luncheon April 22.

The company, formerly Hawker Beechcraft, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and reorganized as the new Beechcraft Corp.

Boisture will talk about the reorganized company’s plans and goals, said Wichita Aero Club president Dave Franson.

“Many of us are anxious to see what’s on the horizon,” Franson said in a statement. “There’s no better person to tell us than the company’s chief executive.”

Before coming to Beechcraft, Boisture was president of Intrepid Aviation and a senior advisor to The Carlyle Group.

He also has served as president of NetJets, Gulfstream Aerospace and British Aerospace Corporate Jets and as chairman and CEO of Butler Aviation.

Boisture was a fighter pilot in the Air Force. He holds a bachelor’s in engineering from the Air Force Academy and a master’s in business administration from the University of New Haven.

The luncheon will be held at noon at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

Tickets are $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers.

For reservations, go to or call 316-641-5962.


Piper Aircraft secures two major fleet deals

Piper Aircraft, based in Vero Beach, Fla., has secured two major fleet deals, the company announced at this week’s Sun’n Fun International Fly In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla.

Piper has signed agreements with CAE Oxford Aviation Academy for 35 planes and with Airline Transport Professionals for up to 100 aircraft, the company said.

CAE Oxford Aviation Academy’s order is for 22 single-engine Archer TX training planes and 13 twin-engine Seminole trainers, along with parts and service.

Deliveries will begin in the spring, Piper said. Twenty-seven planes will go to the academy’s site in Phoenix and eight will be sent later in the year to a site in Oxford, UK.

The order is part of five-year fleet replenishment agreement between the two companies.

Airline Transport Professionals’ order is for 15 Piper Archer TX  airplanes with an option for 85 more under a three-year purchase agreement.

The company does pilot training and pilot career development.

CAE Oxford operates 105 training aircraft, 64 simulators and 10 training centers. The company offers training for airline pilots, cabin crew and maintenance engineers.

Piper’s president and CEO, Simon Caldecott, and head of global sales, Drew McEwen, are former Hawker Beechcraft executives.

Spirit AeroSystems executives Mike King and Buck Buchanan to retire

Two key Spirit AeroSystems executives plan to retire this summer.

Spirit executive vice president and chief operations officer Mike King and senior vice president of advanced projects Buck Buchanan have announced their plans to retire.

Both will remain with Spirit until their retirement dates, which are yet to be determined. Their successors have not been selected as well, said Spirit spokesman Ken Evans.

King and Buchanan both started working for Boeing Wichita in 1980, then joined Spirit after Boeing sold its Wichita commercial aircraft division in 2005, forming the stand-alone company.


Virgin America, JetBlue and AirTran best airline performers, new ranking shows

Virgin America was ranked the top performing airline for 2012, followed by JetBlue and AirTran Airways, according to the 23rd annual Airline Quality Rating of the nation’s 14 airlines.

Virgin America was new to this year’s rankings.

The three lowest-rating airlines for 2012 were SkWest, ExpressJet and United Airlines, which ranked last.

American Eagle Airlines improved the most, moving from 15th place in 2011 to 11th place in 2012.

The annual rankings are co-authored by Wichita State University associate professor of marketing Dean Headley and Purdue University professor Brent Bowen.

Airlines are rated on on-time performance, denied boardings, mishandled baggage and consumer complaints from data obtained from the Department of Transportation.

Performance by the airlines last year was the second highest in the 23 years of research compiled by Headley and Bowen.

“Passengers are experiencing better performance by the airlines, although it might cost more to fly,” the authors said in a statement.