Textron Ascend business jet
The Citation Ascend breathes new life into the 560XL family. (All photos: Textron Aviation)

Textron’s Cessna Citation Ascend

The midsized jet costs just under $17 million and will enter service in 2025.

Textron Aviation took the wraps off the latest iteration of its popular 560XL family—the Cessna Citation Ascend—on May 22 at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva. The airframer announced major upgrades to extend the midsize twinjet’s production run well into the future. Key features of the $16.725 million airplane include Garmin G5000 avionics, autothrottles, more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW545D engines, a higher maximum takeoff weight (mtow), and increased range, a flat cabin floor, and other cabin amenities. The Ascend is expected to enter service in early 2025.

The company has delivered more than 1,000 560XLs during the past 25 years. The trenched floor on the 560XL, while it provides more headroom, has bucked the flat-floor trend in modern business jet design. In the case of the Ascend, engineers didn’t make any changes to the fuselage’s external dimensions to accommodate the flat floor but essentially filled in the trench and moved some systems components to allow the change.

Then designers were able to create new cabin seats that take advantage of the flat floor, giving passengers more room to move the seat around and find more comfortable positions. A customer advisory board helped influence the design changes, which include power at every seat—a total of three standard universal outlets and 19 USB charging ports—and wireless phone charging. 

Ascend business jet larger cabin windows
Cabin windows in the Ascend are 15 percent larger and have a more rounded top and bottom shape.

Of course, flattening the floor does shrink the height of the Ascend cabin: it reduces height by eight inches when measured from the previous bottom of the center trench in the 560XL. The height is 60 inches in the Ascend's main cabin but 63 inches at the threshold where the entry door is located. From the entry, passengers will step up a small three-inch ramp into the main cabin.


Ascend business jet lavatory
The lavatory doubles as a passenger seat.

“A notable difference is the flat floor,” said Chris Pinkerton, director of cabin development. “It’s level with the threshold and makes ingress and egress easier. We worked with customers on this feature, and it’s much more comfortable to have options where you can place your feet, especially once you move your seat.” 

Ascend business jet floors
Buyers can select standard carpeting or optional stone flooring material.

Along with the less-cramped look afforded by the flat floor, the Ascend cabin windows are 15 percent larger, with a smoother, more rounded profile at the top and bottom. From the outside, sharp-eyed business jet observers will be able to tell the Ascend apart from earlier 560XLs by the new jet’s small winglets and slightly larger flight deck side windows.

Revamped seats with an “ergonomic design” have dual armrests that fold into the seat back, and movement is controlled by an electric pushbutton. Two club seats can move more than a foot on their tracks. Buyers can opt for footrests, electrically controlled lumbar support, and personalized quilting and tailoring.

Stone counters are available in the lavatory, and the floor can be covered with stone or vinyl material. Carpeting is standard.

A typical nine-seat layout includes two seats opposite the entry door, a four-seat club-seating area, then two forward-facing seats, with one convertible seat in the lavatory. Up to 12 seats could fit into the cabin. Seatbacks can fold down to create flat sleeping areas. In the aft cabin is a centerline closet. 

Textron Aviation engineers have improved the Ascend’s cabin noise level using advanced materials, making it much quieter than earlier 560XLs. The cabin sound level will be similar to that of a modern car, according to the company.

The manufacturer’s Clairity cabin management system lets passengers wirelessly control cabin lighting, temperature, window shades, and the entertainment system. A Bongiovi speakerless sound system is optional.

For airborne connectivity, the Ascend includes Gogo’s Avance L-3 Max air-to-ground system for U.S. and partial Canadian coverage. Options include the higher-capacity Avance L-5 and Cobham’s Aviator 300 Inmarsat SwiftBroadband satcom for light internet use and voice calls outside the U.S.

External storage is easier to see at night, with the addition of LED lighting on the left engine pylon. The aft baggage space hasn’t changed and can take up to 700 pounds in its 80 square feet.

Ascend business jet interior
A major change in the Ascend jet's cabin is the new flat floor.