Flights To The New Normal

Cessna Citation light jets from Textron Aviation look set to be the viable post-pandemic travel solution.

By Omar Gepiga

Of the many experiences missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flying is top on the list for frequent business and leisure traveller. Border closures over health concerns and travel restrictions have brought international passenger services to a standstill. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects that the airline industry will collectively lose US$84.3 billion in 2020.

However, several months into the global health crisis, several countries that have safely managed the spread of the virus are slowly easing entry restrictions. Businesses need to continue, and economies have to reopen. As people gear up for a future after the pandemic, companies will need to catch up quickly on lost time and opportunity.

Health and Safety Priorities

In June this year, CNBC reported private flights grew over 70 per cent than in the previous year. The growth is attributed almost entirely to new customers drawn to flying private because of health concerns and lower jet prices. Increased travel safety is the new normal. With the limited number of commercial flights available, private air transport has become an attractive and viable alternative. Private jets offer time savings, flexibility, productivity, and comfort while mitigating the risk of infection for those who need to travel within the region to conduct business.

Textron Aviation is no stranger to the world of private aircraft and business aviation. For over 90 years, it has been a leader in general aviation and home to the iconic Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker brands. Their aircraft account for more than half of all general aviation aircraft flying worldwide today.

With its wide range of products that spans light jets to super-midsize business jets, Textron Aviation provides unique options to those who require flexibility while balancing the cost-efficiency of aircraft ownership and flight mission needs.

Today, its Cessna Citation family represents the most popular line of business jets with more than 7,500 aircraft delivered worldwide, amassing more than 35 million flight hours since the market-disrupting Citation jet first flew in 1968. Since then, over 5,000 Citation models delivered are in the light jet category. These impressive machines are renowned for combining reliability, efficiency, and comfort with advanced technology and class-leading performance.

One bright spark in the private jet market that is seeing more interest is the light jet category, of which the Cessna Citation CJ3 + and CJ4 are part of.

Planes in the light jet category usually offer comfortable seating for up to 8-10 people and have a flight range of around 2,000 nautical miles. Unlike larger jets, their ‘light’ size allows access into smaller airports and runways, giving more flexibility and freedom to use less busy airports instead of crowded commercial ones.

Safe Cabins

A leading concern among travellers is the safety of recycled air inside the aircraft cabins, even in high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. The Cessna Citation CJ3+ and CJ4 are fitted with systems that bring in fresh air from the outside to replace the air within the entire cabin every two minutes during the flight, thus eliminating the need for HEPA filters.

Owners of Cessna Citation CJ3+ and CJ4 aircraft have better control of the sanitization of their cabins. Additionally, the smaller passenger group will benefit from less time waiting in crowded airports, boarding gates, and airline cabins, thus decreasing risks of exposure to viral infection during their journey.

Comfort and Efficiency

The nine-seater Cessna Citation CJ3+ and the 10-seater Cessna Citation CJ4 are practical light jets that punch above their weight with innovative features and amenities for both work and relaxation. Wide, club-style comfortable leather seats that can articulate in three directions and be configured to recline fully, high-gloss real wood veneer cabinetry and sidings, and wireless cabin management form the plush interior of the cabin. Trackable seats that provide versatility, a heated beverage container, and a belted toilet are all standard on these aircraft. Owners may customize their jets to include WiFi, a Satcom phone, inflight entertainment, and moving maps similar to those of larger jets.

Unlike other competing light jets, the CJ3+ and CJ4 offer productive workspaces with foldable executive tables, generous ambient light in the cabin with more windows, greater interior space that takes over space otherwise taken up by an airstair door, and most importantly, greater baggage capacity. Together, the front and rear compartments can accommodate up to 19 bags.

These light jets fly on Williams International engines, the world leader in small turbine engines, allowing high-speed cruise and fuel-efficient altitudes of up to 45,000 feet, way above busy commercial flight paths and weather.

Fly Further

With a range of 2,040 nautical miles (CJ3+) and 2,165 nautical miles (CJ4), owners and executives doing business in the region can fly further with more payload to any destination in Southeast Asia within a three- to four-hour flight time from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. The ergonomically-designed cockpit is well- equipped with the latest advanced avionics – Garmin G3000 for the CJ3+ and Collins Pro Line 21 for the CJ4 – allowing single- pilot operation that can translate to lower fixed costs to own and operate an aircraft. The operating expenses of these jets are already among the lowest in their class.

Sustainable operations are possible with these light jets. Like the rest of the Citation family, the Citation CJ3+ and CJ4 aircraft can operate on approved Sustainable Alternative Fuel (SAF) whenever available, making it easier for operators to incorporate environmentally sound resources into travel plans. SAF can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent over the fuel’s lifecycle, compared to those made from fossil sources, and provides an active way for travellers to lower their overall carbon footprint.

Expertise and Support

With ownership comes maintenance and support needs. Textron Aviation has 20 company-owned Citation Service Centers worldwide, more than any original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Of the 20 service centers, four are strategically located in Asia Pacific, underpinning its commitment to the region: one in Singapore, three in Australia, and one authorized service center in the Philippines.

Their Asia-Pacific service network was recently conferred the OEM Service Provider of the Year Award in the MRO Asia Conference 2020 for their excellence in customer support and outstanding performance in the aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul community. Textron Aviation aircraft owners can rely on the high-quality service and parts support for their aircraft wherever they are. All in all, this makes the Cessna Citation CJ3+ and CJ4 an attractive entry point for individuals wanting to enjoy the benefits of private aviation and step up into the club of aircraft owners.

The First Choice

Also on that list of experiences missed during the pandemic is the face-to-face interactions between people, clients, and prospects – those meetings that forge relationships and grow businesses. There will also be those who need to fulfill that desire to travel for leisure and explore the world. Immediately post COVID-19, there will be a surge in demand for travel. In effect, ticket prices will go up, airports will be packed, runway traffic heavy, and some worry will still exist about flights’ health risks.

Private aviation is likely to become the first choice for efficient and safe closed-group travel. Benefits such as saving time and money for multiple city visits on a single day, greater flexibility, increased productivity, and higher comfort and privacy levels have been enjoyed by discerning flyers who have access to an aircraft whenever and wherever they need to be. In today’s world, they can also avoid health risks and long lines in crowded airports, endure inconvenient flight times, miss connections, and share capacity-filled commercial flights with strangers.

A Different Sky Awaits

Visit this link to learn more about how Textron Aviation is leading the way in making private aviation travel more productive and secure, especially related to health.