Citations are a major component of many charter fleets in the Middle East and Europe with operators citing the 560XL's baggage provision and dispatch reliability as two of the biggest pluses.
The UK's London Executive Aviation (LEA) has four Citation Excels among its large offering. Many other operators use a broad array of Citations as the mainstay of their fleet and these include the Stuttgart headquartered Jetline Fluggesellschaft whose latest arrivals are a Citation Excel and an XLS.
EBAN's survey established that most 560XL operators are happy with the dispatch reliability and operating capability of the aircraft but that Cessna could increase client satisfaction by offering an improved cabin layout with a more efficient refreshment centre, and better availability of spare parts.
Two-fifths of operators gave replies that rated the 560XL's baggage provision as the best feature, but the respondents were unanimously very satisfied with the dispatch reliability.
Some 80 per cent were very satisfied with the maintenance support and 20 per cent simply satisfied. LEA's George Galanopoulos indicated why there were reservations. "There are some problems with parts dispatch from the US," he reports. And Markus Brunner of JetClub AG, which operates a 560XL and a CitationJet, says the company is unhappy with maintenance support and "expects more warranty support from Cessna." He adds: "The worst thing are problems caused by poor and cheap parts: the best thing is good performance for the price." Brunner says the improvements Cessna has incorporated in the XLS+ have made it the best available upgrade.
There are also indications that improved operating capability would be welcome although two-fifths of the operators were very satisfied. And, of the remainder, all of which reported satisfaction, Capt. David Sheppard of Private Sky, declared: "The takeoff and climb performance is excellent but the EU ops landing requirements are penalising."
The 560XL is perceived as giving good value with half the operators very satisfied and half satisfied but Galanopoulos describes the 560XL as the best value for money in its class and operating economics as its best asset. However, he qualifies this assessment by suggesting that the aircraft has a relatively slow speed for its size and says its appeal could be enhanced by a longer range. "Another 300 nm would make it a truly pan-European aircraft," he adds.
Private Sky's Capt. David Sheppard summed up the general feeling when he described the 560XLS as an excellent aircraft in every way with the best features being the baggage volume, payload, comfort and reliability. Galanopoulos says: "LEA brought the first Citation Excel into the UK market in 2001. Our customers simply love the aircraft, because of its modern stand-up cabin and relatively low cost.
"Today we operate four Citation Excels that are available for charter on a full-time basis. We expect at least another Excel to add to the fleet next year. Third party owners of aircraft managed by LEA love the aircraft because of its brilliant reliability, low operating costs and good financial return from charter."
"Cessna is committed to adding Citation service facilities to our network so that service is convenient and more easily accessible for our global customer base," says Mark Paolucci, Cessna's svp customer service.
"Within the last six months, Cessna has approved seven new international Citation authorised service facilities for a total of 36 independently owned service providers worldwide, in addition to the 10 Cessna-operated Citation service centres."
Cessna has appointed Flyinggroup in Antwerp, Belgium, Taiko Jet in Malaysia and JetAlliance Technical Services (JA-TEC), in Austria as new Citation authorised service facilities. Flyinggroup is a Citation authorised service centre for all Citation models, except the Citation X and is EASA Part 145 approved. There are 28 Citations registered in Belgium.
JA-TEC, a subsidiary of the JetAlliance group, is based at the Vienna International Airport and is a Citation authorised service centre for Citation models 525, 680 and 750. JA-TEC is an approved EASA Part 145 organisation and provides line and base maintenance services. There are 92 Citations operating in Austria.
Jetline midsize fleet benefits as executives 'trade down'
Despite the economic downturn, Stuttgart-headquartered Jetline Fluggesellschaft has significantly expanded its fleet. The latest arrivals are a Citation Excel and an XLS taking the total to six aircraft including two Citation Sovereigns, a CJ1 and a CJ2.
Jan Dietz, coo, says: "We have invested in a significant fleet extension in response to the growing demand for midsize jets especially from eastern Europe. "The current economic crisis is rather seen as opportunity by the Jetline management. In a time of decreasing financial budgets many clients want well-priced alternatives to the larger aircraft and they like midsize jets that offer them space.
"Both the Sovereign and the XLS offer a quiet and spacious cabin and this attraction is combined with the considerable advantages they both offer in the spheres of speed, range and price."