Textron Aviation Debuts Citation CJ4 Gen 2, XLS Gen 2, King Air 360

Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

GENEVA—Three Textron Aviation aircraft are on show at EBACE for the first time: the Citation CJ4 Gen2 and XLS Gen2 business jets and the Beechcraft King Air 360 turboprop, an upgrade from its legendary King Air 350.

Since the last EBACE in 2019, the company announced the King Air 360 in August 2020 and updates to the two jets in 2021.

Most recently, the Citation XLS Gen2 received FAA certification and the first aircraft was delivered in early May. Textron Aviation will make its first delivery of the variant to a European customer in the coming weeks. .

With strong demand since the pandemic began, Textron Aviation has built a healthy order backlog, Christi Tannahill, senior vice president of customer experience, notes during a tour at the static display. The longer delivery times allow customers to customize their interiors, and they are doing so. 

The upgrades to all three aircraft were the result of meetings with customers, Tannahill adds. Customers met in three sessions. On the first occasion, the company listened to customer input. It then built a mockup from the results and came together to meet again, she says.

That led to much attention to large and small details, such as cup holders to fit a variety of sized cups and water bottles, changes to galley drawers, a removable tray to catch spills, an expandable stone countertop and a fold-down seat with durable material on the back of the seat to hold additional baggage securely.

The XLS Gen 2 includes interior connectivity, an optional speakerless Bongiovi sound system, customizable wood veneer pattern inlays on tables, customizable quilting patterns in the seating and other items.

Citation XLS Gen2. Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

The XLS Gen 2 on display at EBACE features an “Eco Interior,” with eco-friendly, sustainable woods, leathers and materials, such as composite wood veneers, 100% wool and silk carpeting and other features.

Eco Interior
The XLS Gen 2's Eco Interior. Credit: Molly McMillin

Leather is considered a sustainable material because it has a long lifespan and is easily repairable and cleanable, says Shelby Page, Textron Aviation interior designer, speaking by the aircraft at the static display.

The aircraft’s tan and green interior is a nod to sustainability. In addition, it flew to EBACE on sustainable aviation fuel.

The King Air 360, meanwhile, has undergone a number of technological upgrades along with a cabin redesign and enhancements to passenger comfort. 

A key feature of the King Air 360 cockpit is the addition of the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle, which automatically manages engine power from takeoff through climb, cruise, descent, go-around and landing phases of flight. The addition reduces pilot workload and helps prevent over-speed or under-speed and over-temp and over-torque conditions, the company says.

King Air 360. Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

The aircraft features a cabin altitude of 5,960 ft. at a typical cruising altitude of 27,000 ft., more than 10% lower compared to the King Air 350i.

The King Air 360, which seats up to nine passengers, also includes a digital pressurization control that automatically schedules cabin pressurization during climb and descent.

The King Air on display includes custom-built cabinetry, partitions and side-ledges, new seats and a new interior scheme with pull-out worktables, standard power outlets, USB charging stations and a private aft lavatory.

The King Air 360 entered service in November 2020.

The Citation CJ4 Gen 4 light twinjet, meanwhile, includes an extra lighted step to the airstair making it lower to the ground for safer entry into the aircraft, with a handrail and a light that shines a customizable logo onto the ground.

Citation CJ4 Gen 2. Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

Inside, the cabin features new seating options, enhanced lighting in the pockets, sidewall and floor and in the cupholders. The aircraft is equipped with two skylights in the lavatory for natural lighting along with an option for a new lavatory vanity and sink.

The refreshment center has been redesigned with drawers that accommodate a 10-lb. bag of ice, pilot dedicated storage and other amenities.

“With the CJ4 Gen 2, we focused on a design that enhances passenger comfort with an elevated cabin to match the performance capabilities already trusted by Citation 4 owners,” Tannahill says. “Developments in technology have allowed us to introduce new design elements. A first for Citation light jets are the CoolView Skylights and a vanity option, which gives our customers the atmosphere of a large jet with light jet performance capabilities.”

The main cabin area features side-facing seats with a folding single seat, a fixed two-place couch and a folding two-place couch for addition storage if required to secure belongings in flight.

It also is equipped with an upgraded wireless cabin management system with an onboard media server to allow streaming of preloaded audio and video files, access to XM Satellite Radio and to view moving maps.

Textron Aviation delivered the first CJ4 Gen2 to a European private jet charter company DALaviation Switzerland in May 2021.

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.