Thursday, 27 January 2011

Nearly $1m for an SEP!

A couple of things have happened in the aviation manufacturing world over the last few days. Starting yesterday, Textron, Cessna'a parent announced its 2010 financial results. 2010's Q4 was better for Cessna than 2009's Q4 (largely thanks to a US bonus depreciation tax break). Despite that, the end result for 2010 was still a loss of $29m for Cessna. The company is reasonably positive about the future citing a stabilising of the economy and fruition of new product investment as factors.

A few days before that, news of a 'new' aircraft from Cirrus Aircraft started leaking. I haven't seen an official release, but it seems that the company is making a special model to celebrate 10 years of the SR22. The SR22 10th edition is based on an SR22T and will, I hear, be loaded with lots of extras and available options. No doubt there'll be a new (cosmetic) look inside and out. What's interesting to me is that the price has been set at $795,000. By the time you get that to the UK, pay for the ferry and pay for the VAT we're only £25k or so short of the £1,000,000 single-engine piston. I suppose it will make the expensive fuel look relatively cheap!

Bringing a bit of new aircraft interest to the four-seat sector is the recent news of a new entrant from Mahindra in India. The company is due to fly its five-seat single in March. Mahindra, which owns a majority stake in Gipplsland' is also planning an eight- to ten-seater. The company plans to sell the aeroplanes for roughly 20% less than the equivalent US-made product.

The sector will also see at least two more entrants when both Tecnam and Flight Design show four-seat models at Aero Friedrichshafen in April.

A fair chunk of activity for a market sector that's been in decline of late.

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