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.