Hawker Beechcraft Chief Warns of ‘Uncertain’ Times

 - October 23, 2008, 12:07 PM

In a letter sent to employees last week, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO Jim Schuster warned that the turmoil in the financial markets could have negative effects on the aircraft manufacturer. “While we have enjoyed one of the greatest market expansions in general aviation history, we now face market conditions characterized as wildly uncertain at best,” he wrote. “We must take actions necessary to ensure that we are prepared for a very challenging period.” Schuster didn’t specify what these “necessary actions” would be, but he did say that employees will be notified of them in the coming weeks. According to Schuster, the company’s debt load is almost $2.4 billion, and its interest costs this year alone will be about $190 million. This “places a unique burden on this business that requires us to be exceptionally diligent in the management of our business,” he said. Schuster added, “The best way to think about it in my mind is that we must plan for the worst and be positioned for the best. This includes addressing the uncertainty, challenges and opportunities ahead. In doing so, we can ensure the long-term success of this…company.”