In a letter to Hawker Beechcraft employees July 23, vice president of human resources Rich Jiwanlal dismisses union allegations that the Wichita-based OEM is planning cuts that “could shrink Hawker’s total hourly work force by as much as 75 percent within the next two years, without a guarantee of even the last few jobs remaining.” In his letter, Jiwanlal did not mention the union, but said, “News sources have speculated that 50 to 75 percent
According to Machinists District 70, which represents some 2,400 hourly workers at Hawker Beechcraft, the company is considering a move away from Wichita, the OEM’s home for more than 78 years.
A new 44,000-sq-ft maintenance training center has opened near the Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) Wichita facility and is offering a full schedule of technical training courses. It is a joint effort between Hawker Beechcraft and FlightSafety International. According to Christi Tannahill, vice president for Hawker Beechcraft global customer service and support, the first course offered is MxPro.
In its latest business jet market prediction covering the next 10 years, Forecast International calls for worldwide production of 11,277 business jets worth an estimated $197 billion. According to the report, total production will decline for the next two years to a low of 716 aircraft in 2011 before beginning its rise through the end of the forecast period.
The employees of Hawker Beechcraft’s Little Rock operation are facing the company’s next round of layoffs. Hawker Beechcraft employs about 8,000 workers company-wide, including approximately 800 at the Little Rock completion center. The company announced last February it planned to lay off 2,300 employees this year due to the down economy. Last May about 150 workers were released at the facility.
Jim Ziegler joined Greenwich AeroGroup in June as president and CEO, after running North America operations for Jet Aviation and serving in various positions at Learjet and Bombardier for 21 years. A graduate of Wichita State University, Ziegler started his aviation career at Learjet in the finance department then eventually moved into managing all of Bombardier’s service facilities, Wichita manufacturing operations and completions centers.
Wichita is bracing for more job cuts at Cessna Aircraft and temporary furloughs at Hawker Beechcraft.
A Beechcraft Premier IA set a speed record flying from Hawker Beechcraft’s facility in Chester, UK, to Geneva in one hour, 13 minutes and 30 seconds with an average speed of 445 knots over the distance of 545 nm. The airplane, owned by British customer Robert Kay, was flown by former astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, who also holds altitude records in piston single-engine aircraft.
The two Republican senators from Kansas joined a growing chorus in support of business aviation when they took President Obama to task for “misguided and reckless statements and policy suggestions” affecting the general aviation industry.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen last week commended Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) for outlining the value of business aviation in remarks he made on the Senate floor. “Some federal officials have recently been making the use of business aviation a matter of derision,” the senator told his colleagues.