A major hurdle facing Hawker Beechcraft in its effort to restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the sale of the Wichita OEM’s inventory of Hawker 4000s. The hearing date for the company’s request for court approval of the sale is now set for December 11, following a decision last week by judge Stuart Bernstein to deny the company’s request for an expedited hearing and sale.
Hawker Beechcraft said it expects the sale of approximately 20 Hawker 4000s “will be at a substantial discount.” An ad hoc committee of Hawker 4000 customers protested the expedited hearing, saying, “Any urgency that might exist [for the sale] is of [HBC’s] own making.”
In the meantime, even as HBC posted a $44.1 million net loss and $95 million negative cash flow last month, the question of how the company will deal with employee pensions is gaining momentum. In a letter to the bankruptcy court filed this week, Mike McCracken, a former HBC employee and current president of Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions, petitioned the court to carefully consider the company’s filing to “freeze the hourly pension plan and establish a replacement Retirement Income Savings Plan for current employees.”
According to McCracken, an amended filing on October 29 states that HBC cannot maintain the pension plans, yet in the earlier filing on May 4 with the court, HBC claimed it could be successful and maintain the pension plans.