Cessna and CAIGA joint ventures gear up

SHANGHAI — Cessna Aircraft Co. reported it is making progress toward beginning operations in China through joint ventures with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company (CAIGA) in Shijiazhuang and Zhuhai.

In November 2012, Cessna and CAIGA signed agreements to form joint ventures to assemble Citation XLS+ business jets through CESSNA-AVIC Aircraft (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd and Cessna Caravan utility turboprops through CESSNA-AVIC Aircraft (Shijiazhuang) Co., Ltd. The aircraft from both operations are intended to be sold in the Chinese market.

Speaking at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE), William Schultz, Cessna’s senior vice president–business development, China, said: “Together with CAIGA, we are making swift progress toward establishing the joint venture operations. The construction of facilities is complete and we expect tooling and equipment to be in place in Shijiazhuang by June and in Zhuhai before the end of the year.”

Formation of the joint ventures and the beginning of operations remain subject to various government approvals, he added.

In addition, Cessna and CAIGA today announced key senior management appointments for both joint ventures.

Trey Wade, formerly with Cessna’s sister company Bell Helicopter, has been appointed general manager for the Zhuhai operation. With 12 years experience at Bell Helicopter, Wade was most recently director of the Bell Helicopter Training Academy. Li Yanbei, previously vice general manager of CAIGA South China Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd., has been named as the deputy general manager of the Zhuhai joint venture.

David Howard has been promoted to general manager of the Shijiazhuang joint venture. Howard was previously responsible for overseeing operations of the Cessna Skycatcher 162 program in Shenyang, China. Jing Weiliang, previously Manager of Human Resource with CAIGA North China Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd., has been appointed to be the deputy general manager of the Shijiazhuang joint venture.

In addition to conducting aircraft assembly and sales, the joint ventures are also expected to develop customer support capabilities to meet aftermarket needs in China. These services are intended to complement the activities of Cessna’s existing service network in the country: Beijing DINGSHI GA Tech Service Center (CFIC) was appointed a Citation authorized service facility in March 2012, and Cessna is working towards awarding the same status to Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre.

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