Hawker 4000 earns European passport

 - May 3, 2010, 1:09 PM

Hawker Beechcraft had a busy start to EBACE 2010 yesterday, packing its massive static display here in Geneva with new customers. Then, while the delivery presentation was under way, it finally received European certification for its flagship Hawker 4000 before announcing both a new derivative product and a European partnership.   

The U.S. manufacturer has unveiled a performance upgrade for its Hawker 800XP twinjet. The new Hawker 800XPR package replaces the aircraft’s original engines with Honeywell TFE731-50R powerplants and adds Hawker Beechcraft-designed winglets. The company is offering a special introductory price for the upgrade as it awaits certification.

“Customer input clearly told us that many Hawker 800XP owners are interested in enhancing the value of their current aircraft with improved range, better hot/ high performance and lower operating cost,” said Christi Tannahill, Hawker Beechcraft’s vice president for global customer support.

Honeywell’s new -50R engines are flat rated at 4,660 pounds of thrust to “create a robust interstage turbine temperature margin that translates into significantly improved performance and durability, and improves hot and high airport performance while generating more thrust at altitude,” said the company.
The new engine has 70 design and material improvements to deliver a 7-percent reduction in specific fuel consumption and increased maintenance intervals of around 30 percent. The Hawker 800XPR will also climb to FL370 three minutes faster than the 800XP.

Hawker Beechcraft also revealed an improved avionics package as part of the 800XPR specification to be ready for “future technology breakthroughs and regulatory mandates.”

During the celebrations in the static park Shawn Vick, HBC executive vice president, assured AIN that the sidelined Hawker 450XP program is still alive and well. “We are continuing with research and development for the platform until such a time that market conditions warrant a launch or a relaunch,” he stated. “The point is it is not shelved.” The envisaged new version of the 450XP is expected to feature similar enhancements to those being applied in the 800XPR program.

Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO Boisture said the Premier II program is now 25 percent of the way through its development phase, with service entry slated for late 2012.

Boisture also announced a new tie-up with ExecuJet Aviation, which will provide the U.S. manufacturer with delivery and initial operational support for Hawker Beechcraft clients. ExecuJet is based in Zurich, Switzerland and provides aircraft charter, management and sales, as well as maintenance and handling under a branded program called SimplyFly Jet Solutions.

Hawker Beechcraft has been undergoing what Boisture called “repositioning” and he said that this process has already produced results. He indicated that 2009 financial results, due to be revealed in New York as EBACE got under way, showed that “2009 was better than 2008 and first quarter 2010 sales exceeded those for the first quarter of 2009.”

According to Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft is now sitting on less than $30 million in used aircraft inventory and since last year’s EBACE show it has paid down 22 percent of the group’s debt. It is currently owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs and the Onex private equity group.