In a filing in bankruptcy court just before Christmas, Hawker Beechcraft asked for court approval to shed two underfunded pension plans covering some 9,500 non-union workers and retirees. The request is part of an agreement with the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) and the OEM’s machinists’ union. Terms of the agreement require PBGC to assume responsibility for the two terminated pensions, while Hawker Beechcraft will keep the pension plan covering its 8,200 current and former union employees. A hearing to consider the plan is scheduled for January 17.
The U.S. Navy awarded a contract to BAE Systems valued at $400 million over five years to maintain T-34, T-44 and T-6 training aircraft. BAE’s Aerospace Solutions business, based in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will perform scheduled inspections, repairs, modifications and logistical support of more than 300 aircraft operated by the Chief of Naval Air Training.
Leaders from the Society of Professional Engineers in Aerospace (SPEEA) are meeting with engineers and technicians working at various “choke points” within Boeing Commercial Airplanes in the Seattle area and Portland, Oregon, in preparation for a strike as early as February.
Jet Professionals, the wholly owned staffing specialist and subsidiary of Jet Aviation, has announced two new ventures here at MEBA: a strategic alliance with Future Stream Japan; and a similar arrangement with EDI-Staffbuilders in the Philippines.
Piper Aircraft and the state of Florida reached an agreement yesterday to amend a 2008 contract to retain the company’s operations in Florida and increase investment in aircraft manufacturing facilities. Since Piper is staying in Florida and has exceeded its research and development investment obligations under the previous agreement, Florida will permit Piper to retain half of approximately $6.6 million in economic development incentives already awarded to the company.
Ailing Scandinavian carrier SAS will reduce its workforce by 6,000 employees, sell off its Widerøe regional subsidiary and centralize administrative functions in Sweden in return for an increased credit line from major shareholders and banks of 3.5 billion Swedish kronor ($525 million) through March 2015. The new revolving credit facility has yet to be approved by the parliaments of Sweden and Norway.
A major hurdle facing Hawker Beechcraft in its effort to restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the sale of the Wichita OEM’s inventory of Hawker 4000s. The hearing date for the company’s request for court approval of the sale is now set for December 11, following a decision last week by judge Stuart Bernstein to deny the company’s request for an expedited hearing and sale.
Bombardier Learjet’s unionized employees in Wichita, members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), are back on the job after a five-week strike. Over the weekend, the Learjet production line workers voted to accept a proposed contract agreement, ending a strike that began on October 8.
Bombardier Learjet and the union negotiating committee representing its striking production-line workers entered into federal mediation yesterday, the union said. The strike at the Wichita aircraft manufacturer is now in its fifth week, and the two sides haven’t talked since the union rejected the proposed contract and voted to strike on October 6. The biggest roadblock was cost increases in medical insurance for workers.
Bombardier has appointed Flying Colours of Peterborough, Ontario, and its subsidiary JetCorp Technical Services of St. Louis as authorized service facilities (ASF) for its Learjet and Challenger business jets. Flying Colours is known for its new green Challenger 850 completions as a Bombardier- authorized completion center.