EBACE Convention News

Raytheon mulling light-midsize gap

 - November 28, 2006, 8:55 AM

Raytheon Aircraft (Booth No. 1044) is considering plans for a new jet to fill the light- to mid-sized gap in its Hawker family. The new model would fit between the 400XP and 800XP aircraft and would compete with Cessna’s Citation XLS and Bombardier’s Learjet 45XR.

Confirming that the development is under active consideration, Brad Hatt, president of global commercial sales for Beechcraft and Hawker products, told EBACE Convention News that Raytheon now matches rival Cessna in the breadth of its product portfolio. With the imminent service entry of the new large-cabin Hawker 4000, it now has a high-end jet to offer.

“The 1,200 Hawker owners now have a product to move up into; previously they had nowhere to go,” he said. “So once we have established a relationship [with a customer] we can keep them in our family of products. Brand loyalty is important.”

The eight-passenger Hawker 4000 was first launched under the name Horizon and is now in the final stages of a protracted certification process, with just function and reliability testing to be completed. It offers 3,400-nm range and a 470-knot cruise speed. The aircraft is not on display at EBACE. What Raytheon is showing here in Geneva this week is the newly approved Hawker 800XP, as well as a 400XP, a Premier IA and a King Air 200 twin turboprop.

The wingletted 850XP received its type certificate in February and initial European deliveries will be made this month. It offers 100 nm more range and climbs to cruise altitude 8 percent faster than the previous 800XP model.

According to Hatt, 2005 was “the best in many years” for Raytheon sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This part of the world is led for the U.S. manufacturer by its Geneva-based regional sales vice president Sean McGeough. Hatt said that the continued strength of the euro against the U.S. dollar has made American-made aircraft more affordable for Europeans.

According to Hatt, inflated oil prices are boosting wealth in the Middle East and fueling further aircraft sales. “The market there is opening up for smaller business aircraft,” he said, alluding to a broadening of the local customer base beyond the traditional demand for VIP-configured airliners.

Last month, Raytheon appointed Jeff Anastas as its new regional sales director for the Middle East. He operates from an office in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.