Textron Aviation has managed to increase deliveries of its new utility aircraft, the Cessna 408 SkyCourier.
In 2023, 18 aircraft were sent to its customers, three times more than in 2022, the year in which the twin-engine aircraft entered service.
In the second half of the year alone, 10 aircraft were delivered, three of them in December.
The production rate at the Beech Field Airport plant has been slowly gaining pace, driven by the order for 50 cargo aircraft placed by FedEx, the type’s launch customer.
The express parcel company so far accounts for 18 of the 24 SkyCourier deliveries, which are passed on to its affiliates in the United States.
The first SkyCourier was delivered to FedEx in May 2022, which last year received six aircraft. This year there were already 12 planes.
Another six turboprops were delivered to four US companies, Everts Air Cargo, Kamaka Air, which received one plane each, and Bering Air and Lānaʻi Air, which have two units in their fleets.
Cargo variant is the most produced
Lānaʻi Air is to date the only operator of the passenger variant of the SkyCourier. Capable of carrying 19 passengers, the turboprop has been little used by the Hawaii company, according to FlightRadar24 records.
The Cessna 408’s greatest vocation so far has been transporting express cargo, a task for which it seems quite capable.
Its payload capacity is 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg), which can be accommodated in three LD3 containers.
The SkyCourier can fly up to 940 nm (1,741 km) at speeds of up to 210 knots (389 km/h). It is equipped with PT6A-65SC engines with 1,110 shp of power and which drive 4-blade McCauley propellers.
Textron Aviation does not disclose the SkyCourier order book, but it is expected that production will increase in 2024 and, who knows, we will have the first customer outside the USA.