First two Citation XLS-Plus jets delivered in China

Cessna, in a joint venture with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., delivered its first two Citation XLS-Plus business jets from the venture’s operations in Zhuhai, China, the company has announced.

The planes were delivered to Guangzhou Zhongheng Group during Airshow China in Zhuhai.

Guangzhou Zhongheng Group is involved in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, real estate, and food and beverage markets.

The Citation XLS-Plus has seating for up to 12 passengers and has a range of more than 2,000 nautical miles.

Airshow China opened Monday.

Textron Aviation, which operates Cessna and Beechcraft, is showing the company’s products during this week’s show.

The Chinese market is predicted to grow in the coming decade, the company said, and Textron is well positioned to play a significant role in the growth in the region, it said.

At the same time, Cessna said it has seen an uptick in interest for its Caravan turboprop aircraft from Asia-Pacific customers during the first year of its joint venture with CAIGA.

Under the agreement, Cessna and CAIGA assemble and deliver Caravan utility airplanes in China for the Chinese market.

Customers are ordering Caravans configured for executive travel, freight, aerial survey and tourism, the company said.

Orders for the amphibian model increased after the Civil Aviation Administration of China granted approval for the Grand Caravan EX to operate on floats in China.

Cessna and CAIGA, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, or AVIC, signed an agreement establishing a joint venture in 2012. It began operating once its business license was approved in September 2013 by the Ministry of Commerce.

Cessna’s Wichita operations provide the components, parts manufacturing and sub-assemblies for the Caravans that are sold by the joint venture. Operations in Shijiazhuang perform final assembly, paint, testing, interior installation, customization, flight testing and delivery to customers inside China.

“The joint venture with CAIGA has been an efficient way to provide solutions to the marketplace as business aviation continues to expand in China,” Bill Harris, Textron Aviation vice president of sales for the region, said in a statement. “The reliability and versatility of the Cessna Caravan make it particularly well suited for growing global markets like China.”

Meanwhile, Cessna’s Citation X-Plus and Citation Sovereign-Plus are on track to gain certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China in early 2015, the company said. That paves the way for deliveries in the country. The Citation X-Plus is making its first appearance in China at the show.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.