Less than two months after completion of the sale of Raytheon Aircraft to the investment firms GS Capital Partners and Onex Partners for $3.3 billion, the newly formed Hawker Beechcraft Corp. announced its first fleet sale. Jim Schuster, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO, and Mark Booth, chairman and CEO of NetJets Europe, the marketing agent of NetJets Transportes Aereos S.A., yesterday afternoon signed a contract for the purchase of 32 Hawker 4000 super-midsize business jets. Deliveries of the aircraft are expected to begin next year and continue through 2016. The value of the contract, which includes maintenance, is more than $700 million.
Including this latest order, NetJets has signed contracts for $2 billion worth of business airplanes in the last year, Booth said. NetJets Europe plans to outfit its Hawker 4000s with eight seats in a double-club configuration and always carry a flight attendant. “Our customers in Europe have been asking us for an entry-level stand-up cabin aircraft,” Booth said. The Hawker 4000 received type certification on November 21 last year but customer deliveries of the new jet won’t begin until later this year.
With its current fleet of 53 Hawkers, NetJets Europe is already the largest operator of Hawker Beechcraft aircraft on the continent–and it has eight more Hawkers scheduled for delivery this year. By the end of next year, it will have 75 Hawkers made up of 400XPs, 750s, 800XPs and 4000s.
In the five years Booth has been at the helm of NetJets Europe, its customer base has increased from 89 to 1,400. “We’re seeing growth across all aircraft types, but we don’t have a single share to sell in our Hawker 800XP,” Booth said. “We just can’t get our hands on a large-cabin aircraft.”
The Hawker 4000 received type certification on November 21 last year and just a month later Raytheon Corp. announced it had reached an agreement to sell Raytheon Aircraft to GS Capital Partners and Onex Partners. Customer deliveries of the new jet, however, won’t begin until later this year. Raytheon Aircraft announced the progenitor of the Hawker 4000–the Hawker Horizon–at the NBAA Convention in 1996. The Hawker 4000 made its official debut at the 2005 NBAA show.
Separately, NetJets Inc. in December 2005 signed a contract for 50 Hawker 4000s for its U.S. fractional fleet.