Textron Pulls the Plug on Cessna’s Columbus Project

Cessna's parent Textron has announced the cancellation of the Columbus large-cabin jet program. First announced in 2006, what would have been the largest Citation had notched orders for some 70 units at a price of $27 million each. The current sales climate caused Cessna to suspend development of the Columbus a little more than two months ago. But in a report filed by Textron to the Securities and Exchange Commission (required when the company makes significant decisions), Textron said the program would be "formally" cancelled. Cessna will have to repay incentives that some Kansas municipal authorities had paid to keep the program in state. A $200 million new facility had been planned for the Columbus in Wichita, and as many as 1,000 new jobs hung in the balance. In addition, Cessna has expended some $43 million on the program to date, part of the estimated $780 million total cost over the next five years to certify and bring the Columbus to market. Cessna has returned some $50 million in deposits to Columbus order holders. The Columbus would have been equipped with a hybrid fly-by-wire control system from Parker Aerospace. Performance estimates included a max cruise speed of 488 knots and a full-fuel payload of 1,950 pounds. The Columbus would have been powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW810C turbofans. The engine maker said it will continue to develop the PW800 series, which shares the same core technology as the PW1000G earmarked for the Bombardier C-Series airliner and the developmental Mitsubishi Regional Jet. First deliveries of the Columbus had been envisioned for 2014.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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