Premier II Service Entry Delayed to 2012/2013
Hawker Beechcraft yesterday announced that while it is making progress with the Premier II program, market conditions have prompted the company to delay entry into service of the derivative twinjet until late 2012 or early 2013. The Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer recently completed the first successful test flight of the Premier II’s Williams International FJ44-3AP engines on a modified Premier IA, and the first Premier II fuselage has now entered the assembly line. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress on the Premier II program to date,” said Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO Bill Boisture. “While we remain fully committed to certifying and fielding the Premier II as designed, we must be prudent in our evaluation of the current and forecasted global economic environment. Based on these conditions, we have made the decision to extend the entry-into-service date to better align with anticipated rebound of the business jet market.” Despite the delayed service entry, the company still plans to fly the first Premier II prototype in December. The $7.365 million (2010 $) Premier II, a long-awaited performance-enhanced version of the Premier IA, was launched at EBACE last year. Driving the Premier II upgrade are the 3,050-pound-thrust FJ44-3AP engines, which replace the 2,300-pound-thrust FJ44-2As on the IA. The II also includes blended winglets and splayed ventral fins, but no fuselage stretch.