2009 Not A Good Year For Cessna

I have been immersing myself into some of the economic statements being made by a number of the business and executive jet manufacturers for their forecasts of 2010 and what they have experienced over the last three years since the slide of the market for corporate jets.  Cessna seems to have been hit very hard and in 2009 they had a tough sales cycle.  Their CEO Jack Pelton reflected on the last few years and  Flight Global reported some of his statements to include:

“Last year was terribly rough for us,” says Cessna president Jack Pelton. “We delivered 275 aircraft compared with 340 the previous year, but our original projection for 2009 [before the downturn struck] was 525 aircraft.” Pelton blames the spending curb on the economic downturn and the destructive negative political and social rhetoric surrounding the use of business aircraft that surfaced in 2009.

“People simply stopped buying aircraft. We were forced to cut production rates across all our models to bring supply in line with demand, and cut 50% of the workforce,” he says.

The plummeting values of used aircraft – particularly in the light and mid-size sectors – also drove down sales. “The prices of pre-owned aircraft were terrible for us. People were asking ‘why buy new when I can get a two-year-old aircraft so much cheaper?”

He says that used inventories are shrinking and that prices are starting to stabilise. “Cessna will ride out 2010,” and will deliver around 225 Citations, Pelton says. “We hope to see recovery in 2011.”

Many of the Cessna peers are also looking ahead to 2011 as a turnaround year.  I think the forecast is not that the market will be worse in 2010 and 2011, but remain stable as 2012 sees a turn around in the market to see increased sales.  As we see the economy turn around so too will sales of corporate jets.  This is a sales cycle that will see better times

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