Reaction to the collapse of negotiations between Hawker Beechcraft and Superior Aviation Beijing seems to be less that of surprise and more about the inevitability of the dead end the two companies reached.
In a reorganization plan filed in June with the bankruptcy court, Hawker Beechcraft listed a number of options and assumptions available during the process, among them that the company might cease all jet production–something the company reiterated it planned to do last week when announcing it would emerge from bankruptcy as standalone company Beechcraft Corp.
After four months of intense negotiation, a deal for the sale of Hawker Beechcraft to Superior Aviation Beijing collapsed October 18 with an announcement by HBC that the parties could not come to terms and it would proceed with the stand-alone plan of reorganization.
A business delegation from Wichita, headed by Mayor Carl Brewer, plans an extensive trip to the People’s Republic of China, and the possible sale of Hawker Beechcraft to Superior Aviation Beijing is likely to be a subject of discussions there. While examining business relationships and renewal of the sister-city relationship with Kaifeng, Brewer said he expects to meet with Superior Aviation chairman Cheng Shenzong on Sunday.
At press time, Hawker Beechcraft and potential buyer Superior Aviation Beijing were still radio silent some three weeks after the September 1 deadline for exclusive negotiations between the two companies ended. The passing of the exclusive negotiations deadline allows other interested parties to submit their own bids and enter into negotiations. Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy on May 3 and had been moving forward on restructuring when it was announced on July 17 that Superior Aviation had reached an “exclusivity agreement” to purchase HBC for $1.79 billion.
Hawker Beechcraft Corp (HBC) says that its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and a pending acquisition by China’s Superior Aviation are not affecting the attitudes of customers and potential customers towards its products, which it believes are ideally suited to the Russian market.
Fog greeted early arrivals to the NBAA Business Aviation Regional Forum in Seattle this morning, but it soon burned off under the unseasonably warm sun shining on the event, which was held today at the Clay Lacy FBO at Boeing Field. More than 800 people pre-registered for the forum and 80 exhibitors filled one of Clay Lacy’s hangars. An Embraer Legacy 650 was the largest jet of the 16 static-display aircraft, which included a Piper Meridian, Quest Kodiak and Hawker 4000.
For the past two years, the business aviation industry has pondered when the oft-mentioned bottom of the trough in aircraft deliveries might actually be reached. In a recent JetNet iQ survey, half of the respondents believe deliveries have already hit bottom, while more than 25 percent see the industry as showing some upward momentum at last.
Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May and is currently in exclusive negotiations with Superior Aviation Beijing, which has placed a stalking-horse bid to buy Hawker Beechcraft for $1.79 billion. However, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer will ultimately be sold in a public auction, meaning it is still very much up for grabs.
Hawker Beechcraft will not exit bankruptcy by year-end as originally projected, if the court allows the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer’s request for a 120-day extension filed late Thursday. A court hearing on the extension request is scheduled for August 30.