Hawker Beechcraft this morning reported $537.6 million in net sales in the first quarter, a decrease of $38.9 million from the year-ago time frame, but net after-tax income increased to $66.9 million, compared with a net after-tax loss of $31.3 million in the first three months of last year.
Hawker Beechcraft yesterday tapped industry veteran Bill Boisture Jr. as its new chairman and CEO. He succeeds Jim Schuster, who announced his pending retirement in November after eight years at the helm of the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer.
Just weeks after warning that pending job cuts “could very well touch all areas and levels of the company,” Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster today put a number to how many of his 9,300 employees will be let go–about 2,300, or nearly 25 percent of the company’s workforce. Most of the affected employees will be given their 60-day notices on Friday, just 91 days since 490 people were let go by Hawker Beechcraft.
The healthy backlogs that Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft thought they had six months ago apparently haven’t been able to weather the worldwide recession, with both manufacturers separately announcing more layoffs this week. Wichita TV station KAKE is reporting that up to 3,000 employees at the two aircraft makers soon could be on the street.
In many ways, last year was an extraordinary year for business aviation, with a record of more than 1,000 jet deliveries but also a large number of new jet programs launched. Last year, Cessna kicked off the Citation Columbus, a more than three-quarter billion dollar program that brings Cessna into the large-cabin long-range jet market. Dassault is upgrading the Falcon 900 with winglets to make
Jim Schuster, Hawker Beechcraft’s chairman and CEO since June 2001, announced today that he notified the Wichita aircraft manufacturer’s board of his plans to retire from the company. “Earlier this month, I began discussing my retirement plans with our board. After nearly eight years as CEO, I feel the time is right,” Schuster said.
Between mid-June and mid-September, Hawker Beechcraft delivered three super-midsize Model 4000 twinjets, and more are on the way. Last month the company had more than 30 airplanes in the production pipeline, and throughout the last three years fleet orders for the $20.8 million composite-fuselage/metal wing airplane have accelerated as full certification neared.
Since last year’s NBAA Convention, several manufacturers have launched new airplanes or announced derivative designs based on previous models. Although there weren’t a lot of new certifications obtained in the past year, and despite the sagging economic and warning flags presaging slower business aviation activity, manufacturers–new and old alike–haven’t shied away from introducing new products.
The FAA has issued AD 2008-16-02 for operators of Premier I (model 390) S/Ns RB-4 through RB-204, which calls for a post-flight residual-heat check of the angle-of-attack probes after every flight until a software change is made or the probe is replaced. The AD becomes effective on September 3.
Raytheon Aircraft employees associated with the Beechcraft Premier I recently celebrated completion of the aircraft model’s 100th composite fuselage. Raytheon had delivered 59 Premier Is to date at press time, 11 of them in the first half of this year, and 38 more are planned for shipment by year-end.