Deliveries, Profits Up at Textron Aviation

In a sign of a rebounding market for light and midsize business jets, Textron Aviation reported higher delivery totals, revenue and profits at Cessna for the full year 2014 while also pointing to last year's acquisition of Beechcraft as providing a major boost to the company's bottom line.

Textron Aviation delivered 159 Cessna business jets last year versus 139 in 2013. Beechcraft, meanwhile, has delivered 113 King Airs since the Textron acquisition last March. As a result, for the full year Textron Aviation revenue rose $1.7 billion to $4.5 billion, while the company's profit for 2014 was $234 million, compared with a loss in 2013 of $48 million.

"New jet customer interest and inquiry activity has been noticeably better than a year ago," Donnelly said on a conference call with analysts yesterday. "We're also encouraged the availability of used aircraft continues to come down." On balance, he said, "We believe our best path forward at this point is to remain conservative with respect to increasing production and to continue on our path to new product developments."

Cessna has introduced several new business jet models, including the Citation Latitude, Longitude and M2. The midsize Latitude is on track for certification in this year's second quarter while flight testing of the super-midsize Longitude is expected to start soon. Textron Aviation's backlog at the start of the year, said Donnelly, was a healthy $1.4 billion.

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