For Cessna, the deal continues its long-term relationship with NetJets that started with delivery of one of the fractional provider’s first aircraft–a Citation II–and has a working relationship going back more than 20 years. NetJets currently operates more than 250 Citations.
The Latitude is Cessna’s latest development program, and was just announced at last fall’s National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas.
Industry observers view NetJets’ unprecedented order as evidence that of a strengthening of the business jet sector, which has been noticeably affected by the global economic downturn, and this sentiment is shared by Cessna President and CEO Scott Ernest, who says, “This order from NetJets shows confidence in the growing strength and long-term outlook of the global economy and the aviation industry.”
But there also are doubts that this order is simply a one-time event and not part of a broader revival. And NetJets’ Hansell concedes that while sales have improved, this is at a slow pace and from a very low base. But he adds that the market will return both, in the U.S. and globally.
NetJets also structured its orders in such a way that they could simply serve as fleet replacements, or, with options, position the Columbus, Ohio-based fractional ownership provider for expansion should the market return to its days of rapid growth.