Category Archives: Beechcraft Corp.

Hawker Beechcraft to start rolling furloughs for 240 employees

Hawker Beechcraft plans to put into place rolling furloughs for about 240 employees working on T-6 and AT-6 production, the company said.

Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company continues to build and deliver T-6 military trainers to the U.S. government as part of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training Systems contract, it said.

It’s currently in negotiations with the government for the next lot of airplanes.

“To allow this negotiation process to be completed and synchronize output to customer demand, the company is initiating a rolling furlough on its T-6/AT-6 production line in Wichita. They will be scheduled throughout the year and include approximately 240 hourly employees,” Hawker Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said in an e-mail.

The schedule is still being determined, Alexander said.



Results mixed for a key indicator of business jet sales

The North American market for business jets is improving, although weakness remains in some key indicators of new business jet sales, according to a new report by UBS Investment Research.

“We continue to believe that the largest bizjet market, North America, is improving, driven by replacement demand postponed during the downturn,” according to the report by UBS analyst David Strauss.

Business jet cycles – takeoffs and landings – were 2 percent higher in October than a year ago and better than in September, which experienced a decline, the report said.

Strauss estimates that cycles are up 24 percent from early 2009, which was the trough, although they’re still down 18 percent from a peak in mid-2007.

Among the six major business jet manufacturers, Dassault was the only one to see cycle improvement in October. Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Embraer saw declines, while Gulfstream cycles were relatively flat, the report said.

Takeoffs and landings of long-range aircraft dropped 3 percent in October, while short- and mid-range aircraft cycles were down 2 percent each.

Analysts, manufacturers and others watch a variety of indicators, which include the number of takeoffs and landings, to predict demand for business jets.


Hawker Beechcraft appoints new senior vice president of special missions

Dan Keady, former Hawker Beechraft vice president of international sales for China, Asia Pacific and India, is the new senior vice president of special missions for Hawker.

In his role, Keady is responsible for the continued development and expansion of the company’s special mission business.

He joined the company in 1996 as sales director of international jet special missions and has taken on inreasingly more responsibility since, the company said.



Wichita mayor responds to remarks about Obama’s corporate jet statement in presidential debate

Minutes after President Obama said that corporate jet owners should pay more taxes, former Cessna CEO Jack Pelton e-mailed Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer asking for his help in getting the truth out about the positive impact of the business jet market — one that employs thousands of people in Wichita and around the country.

Brewer, who attended the Democratic convention, responded to Pelton in an e-mail on Saturday, saying that he shares Pelton’s concerns.

In 2009 and 2010, he sent letters to Obama, urging him to pay attention to the “economic value of this critical industry,” Brewer told him.

“Since the issuance of those letters, my position has remained the same,” he said.

Pelton’s e-mail noted that it took Obama not more than 30 minutes to comment on business jets.

“Why wouldn’t we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets?” Obama asked before 58 million viewers watching the debate. “My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.”

Obama was referring to the ability to depreciate a new jet faster when purchased for business purposes. That ability expires at the end of 2012 unless it’s extended.

“Within 30 minutes into the debate tonight, the President made the comment that people who own business jets should pay more taxes,” Pelton said in the e-mail.

“This statement is simply ill informed as to who operate business jets and more important, damning to the great people who work on the production lines here in Wichita.”

The business climate for the industry continues to be at an “all-time low,” Pelton said. And the lack of recovery continues to plague Wichita manufacturers. Obama’s remarks are infuriating, because it ignores the positive impact the industry brings to the economy, he said.

Last year, Brewer noted that he joined other state and community leaders in welcoming U.S. Transportation secretary Ray LaHood to Wichita, where he spoke at Cessna.

“Our message was clear: Aviation is vital to the nation’s economy and to the President’s goal of doubling exports,” he said.

“Going forward, I will continue to defend the aviation industry, and will make every effort to take our message to our President,” Brewer wrote.

Hawker Beechcraft delivers four of six trainers to Mexican Air Force

Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co. delivered four of six T-6C-plus military trainers to the Mexican Air Force last week, the company said.

The trainers were delivered in a ceremony at Santa Lucia Air Force Base in Reyes Acozac, Mexico.

The two remaining trainers are to be delivered by Sept. 16, in time for Mexico’s Independence Day celebration, the company said.

The order was the first for the T-6C-plus enhanced version of the T-6 military trainer.

It is capable of carrying external stores and delivering practice weapons for training purposes, and will replace the Mexican Air Force’s aging PC-7 fleet.

The Air Force will use the new trainers for intermediate to advanced tactics, including air-to-ground weapons employment capabilities and training.

Four flight instructors for the Mexican Air Force completed six weeks of flight training at Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita.

Hawker Beechcraft adds Portuguese language website

Hawker Beechcraft has launched a Portuguese language website, it announced during the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this week.

The website mirrors its English language website and is the third in a series of language translations the company is making.

Websites in Chinese and Spanish were added last year.

The change comes as the company continues to focus on the international markets, it said.

Hawker Beechcraft to cut 170 jobs in Little Rock, Ark.

Hawker Beechcraft is distributing 60-day layoff notices to 170 employees at its Little Rock, Ark., facility.

The layoffs cross multiple levels and functions and hourly and non-hourly employees, it said in a letter to employees.

“The company continues to evaluate and balance production rates throughout a difficult and rapidly changing environment,” the letter said. “Over the last several months, we have worked to appropriately size our business, primarily in Wichita. Today, we are faced with additional challenging decisions that involve further resizing our work force.”

Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 3.

Its Little Rock facility completes and delivers Hawker business jets to customers.

“This continues to be an unprecedented time for our company and our employees,” the letter said. “We encourage you to uphold a pattern of respect and care for our impacted colleagues during this time.”

Hawker Beechcraft officials declined comment beyond what was in the letter.

Court approves exclusive negotiations between Hawker Beechcraft and Superior Aviation Beijing

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York this afternoon approved Hawker Beechcraft’s motion to enter into exclusive negotiations with Superior Aviation Beijing regarding a sale of the planemaker’s assets for at least $1.79 billion.

The approval allows the company and Superior to spend 45 days in due diligence and negotiations.

As part of the agreement, Superior will make a $25 million deposit by the end of the week to keep Hawker Beechcraft’s jet business in place.

Superior will make a second $25 million deposit within the next 30 days.

Any agreement would be subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and other regulatory agencies. It also would be subject to termination if another buyer outbids the company in a mandatory competitive auction of the assets. The auction will be overseen by the bankruptcy court.

If negotiations are not concluded in a timely manner, Hawker Beechcraft will move forward with court confirmation of a Joint Plan of Reorganization filed with the bankruptcy court on June 30. The plan contemplates the company emerging as a standalone entity with a more focused portfolio of airplanes.

More specifically, the company said, it would wind down the jet-related businesses, “a process that likely would have commenced already but for Superior’s compelling proposal to the company,” Hawker Beechcraft said in a press release.

Hawker Beechcraft competitor Sierra Nevada files lawsuit in light air support contract

Sierra Nevada Corp. filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking the reinstatement of a light air support contract from the Air Force.

The suit was filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The action is in response to a lawsuit filed by Hawker Beechcraft following its disqualification in the competition.

The Air Force set aside the contract to Sierra Nevada in March, opened an investigation into the source selection process and reopened the competition.

“The cancellation of the contract was an extreme response to what appears to be paperwork errors on the part of the USAF,” Sierra Nevada said in a statement.

Sierra Nevada alleges the revised Request for Proposal is “tilted in favor of the competition.”

The company has not received adequate explanation or justification for the contract’s termination, it said.

Sierra Nevada has partnered with Brazil-based Embraer to offer the Super Tucano to the Air Force.

Hawker Beechcraft’s bid is for the AT-6, an upgraded T-6 trainer used to train Air Force and Navy pilots.


King Airs to take part in Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebration

Two Wichita-built King Airs will take part in the Royal Air Force’s Fly Past for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration June 5, according to a report by the Royal Air Force.

The multi-engine King Airs, built at Hawker Beechcraft, will take part in the formation flight as the Royal family watch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The celebration marks Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign.

The Battle of Britain Memorial flight and the Red Arrows will salute the Queen in the Fly Past, which will include a Dakota flanked by two King Airs, Spitfires, a Hurricane and a Lancaster. Red Arrows will make their entrance seconds later, the report said.

The Royal Air Force use King Airs in its training fleet.