When Hawker Beechcraft announced on July 9 it was in negotiations that might result in its acquisition by Superior Aviation of Beijing, the most common response was, “Who?”
Superior Aviation is a Chinese aviation technology firm with a mission, according to Superior Aviation CEO Tim Archer, “to promote economic and industry development in the southern part of Beijing City.”
It is owned 60 percent by entrepreneur Shenzong Cheng and his wife, Qin Wang, and 40 percent by Beijing E-Town International Investment & Development Corp., an entity controlled by the Beijing municipal government.
The husband and wife were among the first group of entrepreneurs in China to start a private business venture when The People’s Republic of China began allowing private business ownership a little more than 30 years ago. Their interest in aviation, said Archer, goes back to 2004 and they visited Hawker Beechcraft for the first time in 2006, when they began to recognize the general aviation industry as a great opportunity for growth.
Cheng acquired a major interest in one-time U.S. helicopter manufacturer Brantly International in 2007. Today, the company, under the name Qingdao Haili Helicopter, is building the Brantly B-2B piston helicopter in the coastal city of Qingdao, China, and expects production to reach 80 aircraft annually.
Shenzong Cheng was successful in 2009 in acquiring Superior Air Parts, based in Coppell, Texas. At the time, Superior Air was a subsidiary of bankrupt Thielert Aircraft Engines of Germany. As part of the bankruptcy process, Superior Air Parts was sold to Superior Aviation through a predecessor. The company, now called Superior Air Parts U.S., has been returned to profitability, according to Archer.
“We look forward to building on our established and successful business operations in the United States to strengthen this partnership with Hawker Beechcraft in the months and years ahead,” concluded Archer.