Cessna Aircraft Co. officially opened its new plant in Muscogee Technology Park on Wednesday.
The 100,000-square-foot facility is the aircraft manufacturer's third factory in Columbus. It already employs about 600 people at two plants on Cargo Drive in Columbus East Industrial Park, just off Macon Road.
General contractor Batson-Cook Co. broke ground on the plant last September. The $25 million expansion by Wichita, Kan.-based Cessna is expected to add 150 jobs locally over five years, company officials have said.
The new facility will assemble various parts — from rudders to aircraft cabins — that will be shipped to Wichita and another Cessna factory in Independence, Kan., for final assembly of the Citation Mustang, an entry-level jet.
A week ago, Cessna's Independence facility delivered its 100th Citation to a Thailand businessman. The company expects to ramp up full production to about 150 aircraft per year in 2009.
Roger Whyte, Cessna senior vice president of sales and marketing, said three of every five Mustangs are purchased by customers outside the United States. The order pipeline is filling up, he said.
"Orders have surpassed 500 and are coming not only from owner/operators, but flight schools and large-fleet air charter and air taxi operators," Whyte said.
Cessna, owned by global conglomerate Textron Inc., reported revenues of about $5 billion in 2007.