London Biggin Hill Airport-based charter firm PlaneChartering, owner of the loss-making Club328 brand, has disbanded its Fairchild Dornier 328Jet and Hawker Beechcraft Premier Is and laid off 14 of its pilots. Meanwhile, PlaneChartering group CEO Paul Crowther is taking over from Club328’s CEO, Elaine Young, who is leaving. PlaneChartering acquired Southampton, UK-based Club328 from Corporate Jet Services in October.
Cessna, Bombardier and Raytheon have taken fundamentally different approaches to their new business jet designs. Here at the show, the talk reflects just how stark those distinctions are.
Raytheon Aircraft reduced its 2002 operating income loss to $4 million versus a loss of more than $750 million in 2001. The Wichita manufacturer attributed the narrowing of the gap to cost and productivity gains. The company also had several rounds of layoffs last year and has announced another 600 workers will be let go this year. In 2002, Raytheon delivered 174 Hawkers, Beechjets, King Airs and Premier Is compared with 217 in 2001.
Cessna has selected the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F turbofan engine instead of the FJ33 turbofan proposed by Williams International as the powerplant for the new Citation Mustang very light twinjet. Each PW615F provides 1,350 pounds of thrust flat-rated to ISA+10 and incorporates dual-channel Fadecs.
Raytheon Aircraft revealed five new executive appointments, the third reshuffling of senior manage-ment designed to improve the company’s business and customer support since James Schuster became chairman and CEO in mid-2001. The changes fall in the midst of a significant decrease in sales and deliveries.
Raytheon Aircraft completed preliminary flight tests last month toward reducing the Premier I balanced field length by up to 300 ft. Final flight testing is planned for the second quarter, with completion scheduled for summer. Separately, the data from four individual aircraft that have received RVSM approval is being used to obtain group approval, scheduled to be introduced in production aircraft with Premier No.
Raytheon Aircraft announced a lightweight interior modification for its Premier I that the company says reduces cabin average noise level to 82.2 dBA on takeoff and 73.6 dBA during long-range cruise.
Williams International launched the 3,500-pound-thrust FJ44-4, a FADEC-equipped turbofan engine that uses essentially the same core as the 3,000-pound-thrust FJ44-3. Detailed performance parameters are being kept under tight wraps until an application for the new engine is announced. A spokesman for Williams International, based in Walled Lake, Mich., said at the show the company is just now beginning to market the engine to potential OEMs.
Troy Eaden learned to fly just three years ago, but these days you’ll find him in the front office of the first Raytheon Premier I to be delivered. He took possession of his new airplane in late June, bolstering a tradition of ownership that began with the new Bonanza A36 he bought right after qualifying as a pilot and continued when he traded the piston single for a Jaguar Edition King Air C90B.
In contrast to its primary competitors, Raytheon Aircraft posted an increase in deliveries of its turbine business airplanes. In the third quarter, Raytheon shipped 39 Hawkers, Beechjets, Premier Is and King Airs, compared with 32 in the same period last year. In the nine months ending September 30, Raytheon delivered 105 jets and turboprops vs 99 last year.