Business aviation in Asia–particularly in China–was the focus of this year’s Asian Aerospace, held in Hong Kong from September 3 through 6. This year’s event also marked the show’s debut at a new venue– Asia World Expo at Hong Kong International Airport–as show organizer Reed Exhibitions moved the event from Singapore after its joint venture with that government ended. Singapore will hold its own show on a new site at Changi next February.
Cessna Citation CJ4
The Citation CJ4 takes the single-pilot CitationJet into a higher-performance realm while retaining the signature characteristics of what used to be Cessna’s entry-level jet series. The CJ4’s new features should make it easier to fly and maintain than other members of the Citation line.
Formerly a subsidiary of Raytheon Company, Raytheon Aircraft was bought earlier this year by Onex and GS Capital Partners and promptly renamed Hawker Beechcraft (Booth No. 6159). And at its first NBAA show under a “new” brand, president of commercial sales Brad Hatt described a corporate culture in which “we’re going to design, build and service the very best products in the business.”
Safe Flight Instrument Corp.’s (Booth No. 2239) AutoPower autothrottle system will be available to Hawker 800 series aircraft within a year, the company announced yesterday. Safe Flight and West Star Aviation will be unveiling the product and taking orders tomorrow afternoon between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Safe Flight exhibit.
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment firm, has a thing for business aviation, according to Sanjeev Mehra, the firm’s managing director. Raytheon Aircraft, purchased on March 26 this year, was its most recent acquisition. Investment funds controlled by the Goldman Sachs affiliate Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Canada’s Onex Partners bought the Wichita OEM for $3.3 billion in debt and equity and renamed it Hawker Beechcraft.
Bill Brown, president of global customer support for Hawker Beechcraft, arrived at the NBAA Convention with a renewed sense of enthusiasm following the sale of the company by defense contractor Raytheon to investors Goldman Sachs and Onex Capital Partners. That type of transaction isn’t always a reason for optimism, but in case of the Wichita manufacturer, the future is looking bright.
Hawker Beechcraft dominated the business aviation news headlines this week at Asian Aerospace in Hong Kong, announcing 10 new jet sales and the strengthening of its sales network for the promising Asian market. Macau-based charter/management operator Jet Asia ordered four midsize Hawker 900XPs, along with four shorter-range Hawker 750s.
Although the second quarter of this year raised the order backlog at Hawker Beechcraft to a company record $5.1 billion, roughly double what it was at the same time last year, the realities of purchasing Raytheon’s aircraft division led to an operating loss of $36.6 million. Sales for the second quarter were down 10 percent from last year to $701 million, despite the fact the manufacturer delivered two more aircraft in the same period.
Although the second quarter of this year raised the order backlog at Hawker Beechcraft to a record $5.1 billion, roughly double what it was at this time last year, the realities of purchasing Raytheon’s aircraft division led to an operating loss of $36.6 million.
Hawker Beechcraft late last month opened its new international sales headquarters at the Hawarden Airport, Broughton, UK. In an unusually poignant example of globalization, the opening means that Hawkers sold in the UK will have come full circle–from wings and fuselage by Airbus UK to final assembly and testing at the company’s Wichita headquarters and finally back to the UK to be sold.