Textron Aviation is delighted with the progress it has made since bringing together the Cessna and Beechcraft brands under one roof. “We now have a product at a price point and a mission profile that really meets our customers' needs very well,” says senior VP of sales and marketing Kriya Shortt. “If you are looking for an aircraft with a single pilot and operating within Europe, you can easily use either the CJ2, 3+ or 4. It then becomes a question of how far you want to go and whether or not you are looking for something that requires you to do an additional type rating. If you are carrying heavy loads short distances to unprepared strips, we have the King Air family of products and the Caravan, and then we get into our more capable, crewed aircraft: the XLS+ up to the Citation X.
“I think it is important for us to have products that do resonate with our customers and do meet their needs across that spectrum. Moreover, I don't need to box you in to my product, because I have multiple products that will meet your missions.”
She says that it has been nice to see Europe 'waking up' in recent months, and the region remains Textron's second biggest market behind the US. “It has been a challenging environment for the past several years with the global economic situation. Nonetheless we continue to be successful. I think that is indicative of the product line-up that we have, and our ability to craft the products, the service capabilities and our team, to listen to customer's needs and be able to structure solutions for them.
“In terms of the European market, we do very well in Germany, and we are very proud of that fact. We are also very present in the UK and France. Southern Europe is challenging but we are also seeing products move into that region. We are very excited to see things picking up and we don't see any impact from the current tensions and conflict in the southern Mediterranean.”
Africa also continues to be a good emerging market. The Caravan is performing well there, as does the King Air line. “We do see an opportunity to continue to influence, shape and educate that market space with regard to how our product line is evolving,” Shortt adds. “We have Citations that are operating in and out of Africa, and in Nigeria in particular. We will continue to ensure that we meet every market opportunity. We also do a very strong pre-owned business which is alive and well.”
She sees many similarities between the US and EU markets, with buyers spread across all segments. “There are parts of Europe where the owner/pilot is very much alive and well, and the idea of the passion of aviation and the entrepreneurial spirit is very similar to North America. There is a significant amount of commercial activity within Europe. The midsize aircraft as well as the CJs do very well in those environments. There is also a very strong turboprop following, both in the Caravan and the King Airs.
“I think as we continue to see progress with EASA and single engine commercial operations, we see a bright future for the Caravan, as well as our upcoming single engine turboprop. I think it would be good for EASA to allow this as soon as possible.” Shortt concludes.