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Construction begins on Cessna's Citation Columbus facility in Wichita

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius joined Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton this morning to celebrate the start of construction of the company's new Wichita Citation Columbus design and assembly facility. Cessna is a Textron (NYSE: TXT) company.

Sebelius and Pelton were joined by local and state legislative and business leaders and a small representation of Cessna's 12,000 Wichita employees.

"Being able to call Kansas home for the Citation Columbus is important to Cessna and it wouldn't be possible without the team effort shown earlier this year," Pelton said. "Today is our way of recognizing how big of a victory this is for Cessna, Wichita and Kansas, and to again thank everyone who played a part in making this happen."

Cessna announced it will build the assembly facility at its Mid-Continent facility in April following approval by the Kansas Legislature of a new incentive measure designed to keep and attract new business. Among those collaborating with the legislators on the package were the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Sebelius signed the bill during a visit to Cessna on April 23.

"Landing the Citation Columbus sends a strong message that Kansas will compete to keep and grow aviation jobs," Sebelius said. "But this reaches far beyond aviation and the direct jobs created at Cessna. Research shows that each aviation job creates an additional 2.9 jobs, which means a total of nearly 4,000 future new jobs in Kansas as a result of this new plant."

The stand-alone, 600,000-square-foot facility is being built near the intersection of K-42 and Hoover on the Cessna campus adjacent to Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. Wichita firms McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry and Professional Engineering Consultants, P.A. have been hired for architecture and engineering work, respectively.

Cessna and the design team are working toward compliance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system for this facility. The new building will house engineering offices and final assembly for the Citation Columbus – the largest and longest-range business jet in the Cessna Citation family of business jets.

Cessna was given the go-ahead for the program by the Textron board of directors on Jan. 23. Textron is investing $780 million into development of the Citation Columbus, Cessna's newest and largest business jet. The program will create up to 1,000 new jobs at Cessna with an estimated annual payroll of $74 million.

"The hard work of employees past and present has made it possible for us to launch a program as massive as the Citation Columbus," Pelton said. "Despite the uncertainty of the short-term economic environment, we believe it is critical that we not compromise our future." The all-new aircraft's large, comfortable cabin is configurable for up to 10 passengers and is expected to exceed top competitor passenger seating room. The Columbus also is expected to lead its segment with its combination of speed and range.

The Citation Columbus follows the design philosophy of other Citations by using an aluminum airframe, and it contains structural and cabin interior features to maximize interior cabin space. Cessna's engineering team and its co-development suppliers have designed the clean-sheet Columbus to be one of the most advanced, fuel-efficient, cleanest business jets ever conceived. The price for the Citation Columbus is $27 million in 2008 U.S. dollars. Cessna plans to achieve Federal Aviation Administration certification for the Citation Columbus by the end of 2013, with deliveries beginning in 2014.

Press release issued by Textron Aviation Inc. on October 29, 2008


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