History of the Cessna Citation Jet

Revolutionising Business Aviation

The Story of the Citation Jet

Since its introduction in 1969 by Cessna, a company with a storied history in aviation, the Citation series has continuously redefined benchmarks for business aviation by blending efficiency, advanced technology, and robust reliability. With over 8,000 jets delivered by 2022 and surpassing 41 million flight hours, the Citation is the largest business jet fleet globally, marking over fifty years of unparalleled service and innovation.

Inspired by the legendary American Triple Crown-winning Thoroughbred racehorse, 'Citation' represents speed, agility, and excellence. This spirit has driven each model within the Citation family, pushing Cessna to the forefront of business aviation innovation.

Cessna's focus on innovation reflects its commitment to service. Owners of Citation jets have access to a global service network, ensuring that expert care is always available and keeping their business in perpetual motion. This commitment extends beyond the individual aircraft to a community of Citation owners and pilots who share a passion for aviation and a commitment to using their jets to foster connections.

About Cessna

A History Rich In Innovation

Founded more than eight decades ago in Wichita, Kansas, Cessna has established itself as a formidable name in general aviation. The company began its journey with the ambitious goal of constructing a monoplane that used a wing without supporting struts or braces, culminating in the creation of the Cessna® All Purpose aircraft. This innovative approach not only succeeded but also permanently altered the aviation industry.

Today, Cessna is renowned worldwide as a leading jet, turboprop, and piston aircraft producer. The brand is synonymous with versatility, reliability, and innovation, designed to meet diverse business and recreational needs. Cessna aircraft are particularly noted for their ruggedness and ease of maintenance, making them favourites among pilots and aviation enthusiasts. Moreover, Cessna has been instrumental in shaping the private pilot sector, with many pilots earning their initial licenses in a Cessna® piston aircraft.

The company's product line is broad, encompassing everything from the durable and flexible recreational turboprops to the sophisticated fleet of Citation® jets. These aircraft are tailored for various specialised missions, including air ambulance services, surveillance, and flight inspection, demonstrating Cessna's commitment to enhancing aviation capability and efficiency across the board.​

The Birth of a New Private Jet Era

From Concept to Market Disruption

Conceived with the vision of Clyde Cessna, who pioneered the fully cantilevered monoplane with no external braces or supports, the Citation jets represent a lineage of engineering marvels that have consistently set higher standards in the industry.

In the late 1960s, as the business world rapidly evolved, so did its travel needs. Cessna, already well-established in general aviation, identified a niche for a light corporate jet that could operate efficiently from shorter runways and facilitate easier maintenance. The concept led to the creation of the Citation I, a model that pioneered a new category in the aviation market.

Citation I

The Genesis

Debuting on 15 September 1969, the Citation I was not just Cessna's entry into the jet market; it was a bold attempt to reshape what a business jet could be. Small and efficient, yet powerful, it became the foundation upon which Cessna would build the entire Citation family. The Citation I continued production until 1985, introducing several innovations, such as fanjet technology for quieter and more efficient flights.

Broadening Horizons

Expanding the Family

As the business world's demands grew, so did the Citation lineup. In the 1980s, the Citation II was introduced, a response to the market's demand for a larger, faster variant with increased range and a more spacious cabin.

This period also marked Cessna's commitment to continuous improvement and customisation, tailoring aircraft to meet businesses' evolving needs.

The Citation III, introduced in the late '80s, moved into the midsize jet category, offering even more range and comfort and appealing to a broader client base. The model featured advanced avionics and could operate transcontinental flights, making it a popular choice for North American and European markets.

Citation X

Breaking Barriers

The 1990s were characterised by a focus on speed and luxury, culminating in the launch of the Citation X in 1996. It was the fastest business jet then and a symbol of Cessna's innovation. With its radically swept wings and powerful engines, the Citation X drastically reduced travel times across continents. This model represented a significant technological leap, setting new standards for what business jets could achieve regarding speed and efficiency.

CJ Series and Beyond

Entering the 21st Century

The late 1990s and early 2000s were defined by the CitationJet, or CJ series, which democratised jet ownership through more accessible pricing and maintenance costs. Starting with the CJ1 and evolving through the CJ2, CJ3, and CJ4, each model brought incremental efficiency, range, and comfort improvements, addressing diverse operational needs from short city hops to longer continental flights.

The introduction of the Citation Mustang in the 2000s marked Cessna's foray into the very light jet (VLJ) market. This model and the subsequent Latitude and Longitude targeted midsize and super-midsize market segments, focusing on delivering superior comfort, cutting-edge technology, and longer-range capabilities.

Future Direction

Today, the Citation series continues to evolve, embracing sustainable practices and the latest technology to meet the demands of modern travellers. Plans for the future include advancements in fuel efficiency and exploration into hybrid and electric propulsion systems, signalling Cessna's commitment to sustainability and innovation in an ever-changing world.

The Cessna Citation jets represent sophistication, efficiency, and unmatched performance, reflecting over five decades of impactful presence. With a legacy built on breaking barriers and setting new standards, the Citation family continues to be at the cutting edge of business aviation, ready to meet future challenges.


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