Every year since the start of the great economic downturn of 2008, the business aviation industry has watched business jet deliveries dwindle and searched for signs that the market might have finally hit bottom. The downward slide was finally arrested last year, according to year-end numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, with manufacturers handing over 678 jets last year, six aircraft (1 percent) more than in 2012.
Beechcraft King Air
Yukon, Oklahoma-based maintenance provider Legacy Aviation has doubled-down on its investment in supporting the Beechcraft King Air line. Company president and CEO R.J. Gomez said, “Our market research indicates that nearly 600 King Airs are based within a 500-mile radius of our facility.
Swiss MRO and FBO specialist Air Service Basel has received its maintenance approval certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands. Air Service Basel is also a Beechcraft authorized service center for King Airs. CEO Claudio Lasagni said the CAACI approval complements existing EASA Part 145 and FAA repair station approvals held by Air Service Basel. “By adding this approval, we meet the increasing demand of our customers for flexible line and base maintenance services,” he said.
Aviation Fabricators (AvFab) has received Mexican approval for the installation of its STC-approved King Air aft jump seat kits on all Beechcraft King Airs. AvFab received EASA approval in April 2010. AvFab also has approvals from the U.S., Brazil and Indonesia. GR Lowe, AvFab’s CEO, told AIN, “We provide the STC, seat and all hardware.
This week Beechcraft posted its fourth-quarter and end-of-year results, showing the significant increases that brought 2013 to a successful close. The figures were welcome to the company as it ended its first year of trading as a stand-alone entity, prior to the expected acquisition by Textron that is due to be completed in the first half of this year. The Wichita, Kansas-based company delivered 205 civil aircraft in 2013, compared with 125 in 2012. Adding to 2013’s figure was the delivery of 34 military trainer aircraft.
Demand at Beechcraft for special-mission variants of the King Air is growing at a rate the Wichita OEM finds at least gratifying and at most downright exciting.
Beechcraft has sold more than 50 King Air twin turboprops for special missions this year, according to Dan Keady, the company’s senior v-p for special missions. “That’s double last year’s total,” he told AIN.
Buoyed by the recent 50-aircraft order to remanufacture the Hawker 400XP fleet of Travel Management Company and fresh from the launch of a new aircraft remanufacturing program, Nextant Aerospace (Chalet B17) has brought its 400XTi light business jet to Dubai to make its airshow debut in the Middle East.
Euravia Engineering and Greenwich AeroGroup have entered into a partnership to provide MRO services for Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A and PT6T turbine engines on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in the U.S. Through its MRO facilities (Atlantic Aero in Greensboro N.C., Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del., and Western Aircraft in Boise, Idaho), Greenwich AeroGroup will provide engine inventory and component storage, logistics and distribution services across the U.S. and also between the U.S. and the UK.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.