Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, today announced that the Citation Latitude business jet has achieved type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of this year. The new Citation Latitude represents the perfect balance of comfort and efficiency and is the first business jet to combine a roomy, flat floor, stand-up cabin, with a midsize price and best-in-class operating costs.
“From inception, we looked at every aspect of how we design, build and deliver new products to the market with the goal to further improve upon the key attributes that make the Citation so highly esteemed,” said Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. “Throughout the certification program, the Latitude demonstrated breakthrough results, which are evident in the aircraft’s performance and value proposition. And now, customers can experience firsthand how the Latitude can reduce operating costs, while increasing productivity and profitability for their businesses.”
FAA certification follows the aircraft’s first Atlantic crossing and European debut at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in May. Customer reception remains strong as the aircraft’s transcontinental and European performance capabilities were showcased during a month-long regional demonstration tour. The aircraft flew non-stop from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Valencia, Spain in just over 5 hours demonstrating notable fuel efficiency that would allow the aircraft to continue to several additional European destinations. The Citation Latitude will continue its global debut schedule throughout the remainder of the year.
The Latitude is entering the market with enhanced performance specifications, including increased range of 2,850 nm at long-range cruise and 2,700 nm at high-speed cruise, as well as improved runway performance of 3,580 feet, all of which are reflected in final certification results.
Among the first customers is NetJets, who has ordered up to 150 Citation Latitude business jets, with initial deliveries beginning in 2016.
Assembly of the Citation Latitude features a variety of technological advancements including the use of new automated robotics, monolithic machined structures and ergonomically friendly tooling stations, resulting in greater precision throughout the build process. Through these advancements, customers benefit from the highest quality, increased maintenance intervals and reduced aircraft down times. This, combined with the Latitude’s increased performance, results in up to 20 percent lower operating costs than competing aircraft.
The flight test program for the Latitude began with its first flight in February 2014 and grew to include four test articles that flew 690 flights and amassed 1,697 flight hours. The accelerated test program validated the maturity of the Garmin G5000 avionics system and features such as the new auto-throttle, which reduces pilot workload in critical phases of flight for enhanced safety.
The Citation Latitude features a larger fuselage accommodating up to nine passengers. Designers created the most open, spacious, bright and refined cabin environment in the midsize category with a flat cabin floor and 6 feet (1.83 meters) of cabin height. Innovation abounds with unique features designed throughout the aircraft such as the electronically-operated cabin door ushering passengers into the widest fuselage of any Citation. Cessna’s Clairity™ cabin-technology system provides connectivity and entertainment to each passenger through their personal electronic devices. Improving cabin comfort for passengers and crew alike, the Latitude features a new cabin cooling system and a new pressurization system, which provides a 5,950-foot cabin altitude at the aircraft’s maximum operating altitude of 45,000 feet (13,716 meters).
Today’s news reflects the company’s focus on continued investment in general aviation’s most extensive product lineup. Five new Citation aircraft have been certified during the past 18 months including the Citation M2, Citation CJ3+, Citation Sovereign+, Citation X+ and now the midsized Citation Latitude. The company’s super midsized Citation Longitude is expected to be certified in 2017.
More than 6,750 Citations have been delivered to customers around the world since the first Cessna Citation business jet was put into service in 1972. Citations are the largest fleet of business jets in the world and have surpassed 31 million flight hours.