Cessna is making rapid progress with its efforts to operate in China through joint ventures formed with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA), the Wichita-based company said today at ABACE in Shanghai. The joint venture with CAIGA involves building Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EXs in Shijiazhuang and Cessna Citation XLS+s in Zhuhai for the Chinese market.
Beechcraft appointed Cutter Aviation in Phoenix and Flying Colours Corp. in Peterborough, Ontario, as authorized service centers for the King Air, Baron and Bonanza product lines, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer announced today at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla.
The downsized Beechcraft that is expected to emerge from bankruptcy protection at the end of this month will retain and expand its services division, two senior Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) executives told AIN. There are no plans at this time to spin off Hawker Beechcraft Services into a separately owned company.
The Learjet 85, the first all-composite Part 25 business jet, remains on track for certification and entry into service next year, according to Bombardier. “Four test aircraft are in various stages of production,” the company noted, and shipment of the first pressure vessel from Bombardier’s factory in Querétaro, Mexico, to the final-assembly plant in Wichita was imminent (in mid-July). At the Querétaro factory, technicians completed construction of the first Learjet 85’s wing internal structure and the wing was moved to the final-assembly position for installation of the wing plank.
About a week after it revealed that it posted a $632.8 million loss last year, Hawker Beechcraft issued a 60-day warning to workers yesterday, noting that it “will lay off approximately 350 employees in several areas of operations in Wichita.” The company currently employs about 4,700 workers in Wichita.
What’s the air capital of the world? Thirteen partners hope you’ll answer “Wichita,” at least after they finish their marketing campaign here at the NBAA show. The campaign claims the “air capital” title based on what its backers say is the city’s position as the number-one site for aviation manufacturing, skilled aviation workers and a robust aviation supply chain.
Wichita State University has risen to second among the nation’s universities in aeronautical research and development expenditures, according to the latest information from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.
Hawker Beechcraft is proceeding with relocation of some of the company’s facilities, chairman and CEO Bill Boisture noted during the company’s first-quarter earnings call last month.
Bombardier Aerospace’s all-composite Learjet 85 is on track to enter service in 2013, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer announced at Ebace. Development and production teams in Wichita; Montreal; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Querétaro, Mexico, are actively engaged as work has transitioned from the detail design phase to the build, test and validate phase.
“Cautious optimism” for the current business aviation market likely describes the consensus of opinion of the business aviation industry here at EBACE. It is, at least, the view of Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO, Hawker Beechcraft Corp., who told AIN that his plans for transforming the Wichita, Kansas OEM into “a smaller, more agile company” are progressing.