Cessna Aircraft Co. is working toward launching a program early next year to build a large-cabin, intercontinental business jet, company officials said.
Many details must be finalized before the program becomes official.
"All our efforts are working to get to a launch," Jack Pelton, Cessna chief executive, said in an e-mail Monday.
Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems is one of many suppliers bidding on work for the program, he said.
"We have not selected all our suppliers yet, but Spirit is still in the running," Pelton said.
Spirit is "working eagerly to meet our requirements, but no contract has been signed."
Suppliers will be announced once contracts are signed, Pelton said.
The long-range aircraft would be Cessna´s largest and is a logical extension of its line.
Cessna unveiled a concept of the large-cabin, nine-passenger jet last year after many of its customers told the company they would like to see a longer-range jet in the line.
A full-scale mock-up was on display last week at Cessna´s exhibit at the National Business Aviation Association´s convention in Atlanta.
Over the past year, Cessna has been getting opinions about the plane from a diverse sample of potential customers and building a business case, the company said.
According to the 2008 Pocket Guide to Business Aircraft, the jet would compete with Bombardier´s Challenger 605, the Dassault Falcon 2000, Embraer´s Legacy 600 and the Gulfstream G350.
Cessna is progressing through a wind tunnel program to investigate range, speed and stability characteristics, company officials said.
Later this year, it will conduct tests in Bedford, England, to determine high speed characteristics and in San Diego for low speed handling qualities and high-lift systems.