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Cessna signs deal to assemble, sell Caravans in China

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 6:47 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 9:27 p.m.

Cessna Aircraft Co. has signed an agreement to assemble and sell Cessna Caravan turboprop airplanes in China, the company said Tuesday.

Cessna has entered into a joint venture with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co.

The agreement also will explore the possibility of designing and assembling new models of utility turboprop airplanes in the future.

Under the agreement, Cessna’s operations in Wichita will provide components, parts manufacturing and subassemblies for the Caravans to be sold by the joint venture in China.

Workers in Shijazhuang, China, will conduct the final assembly, paint, testing, interior installation, customization, flight testing and delivery of the planes.

The China joint venture is aimed at buyers in that country, Cessna said.

“Since its introduction, the Cessna Caravan has proven to be an incredibly reliable aircraft and is particularly well suited for growing global markets,” Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Cessna is pleased to bring the Caravan to customers in China who will benefit from its quality and versatility.”

Management of the joint venture will include board members from Cessna and CAIGA, with the general manager to be nominated by Cessna and the deputy general manager to be nominated by CAIGA.

Formation of the joint venture is subject to various governmental approvals and customary conditions.

The deal is the second signed between the two organizations in two weeks.

Earlier this month, Cessna signed a contract with CAIGA to form a joint venture for final assembly of the Cessna Citation XLS-Plus business jets in China.

Under that agreement, Cessna will provide components, parts manufacturing and subassemblies for the jets sold through the joint venture. Workers in Zhuhai, China, will conduct the final assembly and finish and deliver the aircraft to Chinese customers.

The joint ventures stem from a framework agreement Cessna signed with CAIGA’s parent company, Aviation Industry Corp. of China, in March.

CAIGA bought Duluth, Minn.-based Cirrus Aircraft for $210 million in 2011.

Earlier this month at Airshow China, CAIGA unveiled a prototype of its Primus 150, which will become China’s first locally built business aircraft.

The six-seat pressurized turboprop will be built out of carbon composite. Its first flight is expected in October 2013 with certification in 2015.

According to CAIGA’s website, it owns two types of very light business jets, the Starlight 100 and Starlight 200, and two types of very light business turboprops, the Primus 100 and Primus 150.

It has in production the Y5B and LE500, two light multi-purpose aircraft, and the H0300, an amphibious aircraft. New aircraft under development include the Y15-2000, a light single-engine turboprop, and the JL600, an amphibious rescue aircraft.

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