Cessna Expects Rapid Growth in Asia

Airplane manufacturer expands presence in China.

Cessna Citation
Cessna Citation

The Singapore Airshow, which kicked off this week, could become a turnaround point for our weakened airplane manufacturers. Trevor Esling, Cessna's vice president of sales in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia said the company expects an accelerated demand for light and mid-size business jets in Asia in the coming decade due to "the region's economic resilience during the global financial crisis, rising national prosperity and Chinese airspace liberalization." Esling said the Chinese economy is expected to grow by eight percent in 2012 and similar growth is expected in other Asian countries.

Cessna has already increased its presence in the region in the past year, growing the Citation sales team to nine members. And a new service facility, which will be shared with Cessna’s Textron partner Bell Helicopters, is already under production in Singapore and is expected to open later this year.

Cessna confirmed it is continuing its talks with AVIC (the parent company of Shenyang Aircraft, which Cessna partnered with for the production of the Skycatcher) regarding a possible Citation production facility in China, although there is no word on when or if a contract will come to fruition. (See Robert Goyer's story here).

While the Asian economy is growing, the aviation infrastructure needs to catch up before a major aviation industry expansion is viable. While the U.S. has more than 15,000 airports, China, with a much higher population and approximately the same landmass, still has only a few hundred airports, so the access to domestic air travel still only exists between the larger cities. Several reports have suggested the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is planning to build approximately 50 airports in the next five years.