Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today launched their signature community endeavor — the Citation Special Olympics Airlift (CSOA) — and began its call for Citation owners and operators to help transport more than 1,000 athletes and coaches from across the nation to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey in the Greater Princeton/Mercer County area.
Cessna launched the CSOA campaign at a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association 65th Annual Meeting and Convention.
“We, along with our many volunteer partners, are extremely proud to kick off our seventh CSOA in support of bringing athletes and coaches to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games,” said Roxanne Bernstein, Cessna senior vice president of marketing. “This is a signature community endeavor for Cessna and unique opportunity that enables everyone from our employees to our customers to get involved and be a part of the Games.
”With its seventh occasion of organizing the CSOA, which is held every four years, Cessna hopes to recruit at least 175 Citations owners to transport 1,000 athletes to New Jersey on June 14, 2014 and then return them to their home bases on June 21, 2014.
“The Citation Special Olympics Airlift is one of the most spectacular traditions of our national Games,” said Bob Gobrecht, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics North America. “The generosity of Cessna, their industry partners and the Citation owners not only provides our Programs with a much needed solution to the costs associated with transporting delegations, but it also gives our athletes a once-in-a-lifetime aviation experience.
”The first CSOA in 1987 involved more than 130 Citations carrying athletes to and from South Bend, Ind. The last airlift, in 2010, included 165 Citations transporting 830 athletes to and from Lincoln, Neb.
Corporations and individual Citation owners and operators in every state are needed to donate their Citation business jet(s), pilots and fuel for the airlift. While the Games are located in the Northeast, more than 3,500 athletes will travel from all over the U.S. to compete; more than 1,000 of those athletes will arrive in Cessna Citation business jets.
“Organizing and coordinating the airlift for the seventh time is a great honor for Cessna. The team effort behind-the-scenes with all of our many partners — Citation customers, the FAA, Ronson Aviation, Cessna employees and so many others — is unbelievable and makes the airlift a great success,” said Rhonda Fullerton, Citation Special Olympics Airlift director. “But, the most important part is bringing the athletes to the Games and taking them back home safely — what a joy it is to see their smiling faces as they fly through the air, some for the first time, in Citation aircraft.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will take place in New Jersey, June 14 through June 21. More than 3,500 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete in 17 sports. An estimated 10,000 volunteers as well as 50,000 additional spectators will be in attendance. Learn more about the Games at www.2014specialolympics.org. Follow the Games at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames.