Paris Air Show

Hawker Beechcraft signs with Indian software firm

 - June 19, 2007, 10:44 PM

Hawker Beechcraft has signed a multi-year contract with Satyam Computer Services, India’s fourth-largest software exporter, to provide design and other services.

Selected for its aerospace engineering experience, Satyam will enable Hawker Beechcraft to streamline its engineering operations and “respond more quickly to business opportunities,” the U.S. airframe manufacturer said.

Raytheon Aircraft–the company’s name before Raytheon sold the business for $3.3 billion to private equity investors late last year–faced long delays developing and certifying the Hawker 4000 super-midsize business jet, among the first developed with a fuselage built entirely of composite materials. Originally announced in 1996 as the Hawker Horizon, the airplane didn’t receive U.S. type certification for more than 10 years, finally crossing the approval finish line last November.

Satyam’s computer-aided engineering, analysis and product lifecycle services should help the newly renamed Hawker Beechcraft avoid a repeat of that scenario when it launches its next airplane.

New owners Onex Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs have reason to be bullish about the manufacturer’s future now that Hawker 4000s are rolling through the factory and demand for its other business jet and turboprop models remains strong.
Hawker Beechcraft announced improved earnings shortly after the company’s transfer of ownership, with net sales in the first quarter of this year up 32.3 percent from the same period a year ago, to $667.8 million. The manufacturer delivered 60 turbine aircraft in the first three months of this year, placing it in second place behind Cessna in terms of units shipped.

Sales of new Hawker Beechcraft airplanes during the first quarter of the year dropped to $499.5 million from $513.8 million in the same period last year. However, second-quarter sales, due to be released soon, should receive a boost from a NetJets Europe order for 32 Hawker 4000s announced at the EBACE trade show in Geneva last month.

To meet the product support needs of its growing fleet, Hawker Beechcraft hired William Brown as president for global customer support. Brown replaces Randy Groom, who has left the company. Brown hails from the airline maintenance industry, most recently as president and general manager of AAR Aircraft Services.