MEBAA Convention News

MENA means growth for Hawker Beechcraft

 - December 7, 2010, 1:45 AM

Soaring sales of its business aircraft family have prompted Hawker Beechcraft to enlist ExecuJet Aviation to boost its product support network here in the Middle East, as well as in Africa and Australasia. In a recently agreed partnership, ExecuJet has been appointed to run service centers for the U.S. manufacturer here in Dubai, as well as in Lagos, Nigeria, Cape Town and Lanseria in South Africa, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia.

In the Middle East during the last three years, Hawker Beechcraft delivered 34 percent of all new jets and 88 percent of turboprops, said Sean McGeough, Hawker Beechcraft president Europe, Middle East and Africa, and 44 percent of jets and 90 percent of turboprops in North Africa. "No other manufacturer even comes close," he claimed.

Hawker Beechcraft has also invested $10 million in spares for new distribution centers in London, Dubai and Singapore and established a financing arm with local regional support, he added, "to facilitate loans with the right banks to serve customers."

During the past year, Hawker Beechcraft delivered 15 jets and turboprops in the MENA region, 12 of which were special mission aircraft. On the static display at this year's MEBA show, the company is showing four airplanes, the super-midsize Hawker 4000, Hawker 900XP midsize jet, Beechcraft Premier IA light jet and King Air 350i twin-turboprop.

During the next 10 years, according to Hawker Beechcraft, 60 percent of business aircraft sales will take place outside the U.S. The company's shift to focus on key growth areas includes moving McGeough to the new role as president for this region from his previous job as v-p international sales.

To help Hawker Beechcraft leadership make sound business decisions, said Shawn Vick, executive vice president, the company launched a comprehensive survey of more than 3,000 customers and established a customer advisory board with 50 members from 33 countries. One result of those interactions was the launch of the new King Air 250 at the NBAA convention in October. "This is the tenth major King Air product announcement since 2003," Vick said.

All-new King Air

The King Air 250 will begin deliveries in the second quarter of 2011 and features new Hartzell composite propellers, composite BLR winglets and Raisbeck ram air recovery systems for the engine nacelles. All of these upgrades translate into being able to operate safely from 1,500 more airports around the world at maximum takeoff weight, he said, "without making any tradeoffs."

Improved performance for the King Air 250 includes a maximum-weight takeoff distance of 2,111 feet at sea level on a standard day and 3,094 feet at 5,000 feet elevation on a standard day (both over a 50-foot obstacle). These numbers are 450 and 700 feet shorter, respectively, than the King Air 200GT. Price of the King Air 250 is $5.79 million.

The planned engine and performance upgrades to the Premier IA light jet that were to become the Premier II will now be embodied in the new Hawker 200 light jet. Customer feedback indicated that the upgraded Premier ought to be part of the Hawker family. "We agreed," said Vick. "It deserved nothing less than to be called a Hawker."