Citation Longitude to Expand Cessna’s Reach

by Douglas Royce, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

The Citation Longitude is a new, super-midsize business jet currently in development.  Cessna’s product line is centered on the light end of the business jet market, and extending the product line to larger aircraft makes sense.  Without a super-midsize aircraft available from Cessna, even the company’s satisfied customers must buy from other manufacturers when they outgrow jets in the medium class.

The Longitude will face stiff competition when it enters service.  Bombardier’s Challenger 350 is a newly upgraded version of the popular Challenger 300.  The aircraft’s cabin is almost a foot wider than the Longitude’s, and cabin width counts for a lot in this segment.  Cessna’s decision to utilize the same fuselage cross-section used in the smaller Latitude may reduce development costs, but it also places the Longitude at a disadvantage against the Challenger 350, which Forecast International believes will continue to lead the super-midsize segment.  Other competitors include Gulfstream’s G280, a slightly smaller aircraft, and Dassault’s Falcon 2000S.

When it was launched, the Longitude was to have a high 490-knot cruising speed (about 20 knots faster than the Challenger 350’s), a full-fuel payload of 1,950 pounds (885 kg), and a 4,000-nautical-mile maximum range.  However, when Cessna launched the new, large-cabin Citation Hemisphere at the 2015 NBAA show in November, it also announced changes to the design of the Longitude.

The manufacturer shortened the fuselage by about 14 feet (4.3 m) and narrowed the wingspan, and it dropped the Silvercrest turbofans in favor of far less powerful HTF7700L engines.  Max cruise speed dropped to 476 knots, range to 3,400 nautical miles (6,297 km), and full-fuel payload to 1,500 pounds (680 kg).  The result is a shorter, lighter jet that can still make nonstop U.S. transcontinental and intercontinental flights.

At the time of the announcement, Cessna’s management said that the introduction of the Hemisphere encouraged the company to redesign the Longitude to better position it between the smaller Latitude and the larger Hemisphere.  The Longitude’s $23.9 million list price is roughly midway between the $16.2 million Latitude and the $30-$33 million Hemisphere.

Cessna plans to begin flight testing this year and achieve certification in 2017.  Forecast International projects production of over 210 Longitudes through 2025.

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The Forecast International Civil Aircraft service covers all facets of the fixed-wing commercial and private aviation industry. It includes more than 70 detailed reports, complete with production forecasts on individual civil aircraft families. Four Market Segment Analyses provide in-depth examination of the markets for Large Commercial Jet Transports, Regional Aircraft, Business Jets, and General Aviation/Utility Aircraft. Included in the reports are production forecasts, a Forecast Rationale detailing the basis for the forecast, the aircraft’s price range and technical specifications, a program history, and recent developments.

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