Textron has predicted higher sales from its aviation segment in 2021 as the market for business aviation bounces back, partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic’s effects.
Textron Aviation was formed in March 2014 from Beechcraft and Cessna, retaining the Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker aircraft type names as brands. Beechcraft Corporation is an American manufacturer of general aviation and military aircraft, ranging from light, single-engine aircraft to twin-engine turboprop transports and military trainers. The Cessna Aircraft Company is an American available aviation aircraft manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. It was merged into Textron Aviation in March 2014.
Effect of Covid on this Industry
Charter operators finished the year down just 15% from 2019 in-flight hours; fractional operators were off 18.6%. Part 91 numbers were down 28.5%. The latter was naturally impacted as companies shut offices, conferences were canceled, and meetings went virtual. Even though all the lockdown activities, business aviation remains a fragmented market.
Textron’s CEO Point-of-View
Chief executive Textron Scott Donnelly, speaking on a full-year earnings call on 27 January, said that it forecasts both turboprops and jets’ deliveries to increase 2021. Its Textron Aviation division owns both the Cessna and Beechcraft brands. While he does not anticipate a return to 2019 levels this year, Donnelly says it expects “to get about halfway back in terms of both new aircraft and our aftermarket volumes.” That would put total shipments at around 165 for the year, in part bolstered by the first deliveries of the Cessna SkyCourier utility turboprop due in the second half of the year. Three aircraft are now in the certification program, he says, and have accumulated over 400 flight hours. A full recovery is expected in 2022, he says. Last year, Textron Aviation shipped 132 Cessna jets and 62 King Air turboprops – including the first new King Air 360s – down on 2019’s figures of 206 and 93, respectively.
Textron Aviation saw revenues fall to $3.9 billion in 2020, down from $5.1 billion a year earlier. Profit slumped to $16 million, down from $449 million, driven lower due to nearly $200 million of one-off charges related to plant closures and headcount reductions.
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