Last week, Textron Aviation delivered the 8000th Cessna Citation business jet, which began production in 1972. With the delivery of the 8000th light jet, there’s little doubt that it is the “most popular line of business jets in the world,” as Textron put it. Citation jets have been the number-one business jet by annual delivery volume for 40 years: from 1972-74, 1979-81, a long stretch from 1984-2012, and again from 2016-20.
Citation is not an airplane type but a branding mark for the light jets produced by Cessna, now part of Textron Aviation. The Citation name is used for aircraft produced under 11 different type certificates, which stretch from the now-discontinued entry-level Citation Mustang up through the super midsize Citation Longitude. Of those 11, several models have been spun off, most notably the Model 525 CitationJet, which has been developed into around 10 different models all sharing the 525 designation. Most of them have been discontinued, usually replaced with a more modern and better-performing model.
The original Citation, the Model 500, has often been credited with saving Cessna as it went through the market downturn of the 1980s. Its Citation 500 and spinoffs gave the company a new business model, one that allowed it to shelve single-engine production for a decade. The original Citation 500, a straight-wing jet that was easier to fly than any other business jet of the day, sold for less than a million dollars back in 1972. Today, the Longitude sells for around $30 million.
Scotts Miracle-Gro was the customer for the 8000th Citation delivery, a super-midsize Longitude model, making this the fifth Citation in the company’s fleet. “I, along with the members of our flight department, congratulate Textron Aviation on the delivery of the 8000th Citation aircraft,” said Jim Hagedorn, CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro, a personal owner of a Citation CJ4.