“Business As Usual” As Hawker Beechcraft Woos Russians
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.
“We have sold around 50 aircraft in the past five years [into Russia]. This represents more than a 700 percent increase into that market place,” Sean McGeough, HBC’s president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific told AIN. He also explained that there are around 50 of the company’s aircraft in total on the Russian register with many more with Russian owners but registered outside the country, for example in Switzerland and Germany.
In his view, Russian clients are “very educated and sophisticated buyers who are very specific in [choosing] their equipment and interiors.” As in other markets, chartering business aircraft is often their first step to full ownership.
The company has a sales campaign currently running for the King Air in Russia, based on the rugged twin turboprop being well suited for flying in rugged remote areas where mining, oil and gas, and other industries need to transport workers, and for special mission applications. “The King Air series will do extremely well,” McGeough predicted, pointing out that it is already in common use in regions such as Africa.
At the Jet Expo show in Moscow, HBC is exhibiting a Hawker 900XP, a Hawker 4000 and a King Air 250. According to recent data from market analyst Jetnet, in the business jet segments in which HBC competes it accounts for almost half of the aircraft registered in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.