The announcement of a new Cessna airplane aimed for cargo carriers and small airlines isn’t just good news for Wichita because of more anticipated jobs at Textron Aviation, but because it’s a new look for a brand that has been concentrated on the business aviation market.
FedEx will be the first customer for the $5.5 million SkyCourier 408, which will be built in Wichita. CEO Scott Ernest said he anticipates more hourly jobs being the result for Textron’s local plants.
The twin turboprop will have a 7-foot cargo door and be able to fly 6,000 pounds over 900 nautical miles. FedEx plans to use its order of 50 SkyCouriers — with an option for 50 more — to replace some older models in its fleet.
Rollout of the first SkyCourier is scheduled for 2019. Until then, an eye will be on Textron to see how it grows its workforce — currently at 9,000 locally — while branching out into a new market for twin turboprops.