Wichita planemakers positive about European air expo

Wichita planemakers are heading to Europe's biggest business jet show to showcase products.

The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, or EBACE, is an important one to manufacturers.

"It's honestly our best show in the world right now and has been for the last two or three years internationally with the growth we've seen in Europe, the Middle East and Africa," said Sean McGeough, Hawker Beechcraft president of sales for European, Middle East and the African regions.

Cessna Aircraft spokesman Bob Stangarone agreed it's an important show.

"About 50 percent of our market is outside the U.S.," Stangarone said. And about half of the international market is within Europe.

The market has stabilized and Cessna is experiencing more interest in its products and more serious prospects, said Stangarone.

And used inventories are declining. Used inventory levels must decline before new orders can increase at a "serious" level, he said.

And financing, while tighter than before, is available, he said.

Hawker Beechcraft, Cessna Aircraft and Bombardier are three of the nearly 800 exhibitors that will be showcasing products at the show.

The show runs Tuesday through Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Hawker Beechcraft is bringing a full line-up of airplanes for the static display.

It also will feature an exhibit inside the convention hall that will sport a new look.

"You're going to see us putting our best foot forward, quite frankly, in a very down market," McGeough said.

The company will also announce a new global demonstration plan at the show. He declined to provide more details.

Cessna is bringing a full lineup of products.

It is debuting its new Citation CJ4 to the European market. And it is showcasing the Citation X with winglets.

The winglets improve fuel economy and time to climb to altitude, said Stangarone.

It also will announce the introduction of the first European mobile service unit, which will be put in place by the end of the year, he said.

That will eliminate the need for an airplane to go to a service center for repair.