Textron and Beechcraft Corp. announced late yesterday that Textron has agreed to acquire Beech Holdings, LLC, the parent of Beechcraft Corp., for approximately $1.4 billion in cash. This confirms rumors swirling over the past few months.
Friday’s market chatter that Textron is set to acquire Beechcraft had still drawn no official comment either party as of press time. A December 20 report in the Financial Times citing only “people familiar with the matter” was enough to drive Textron’s share price up on Wall Street by almost 15 percent at one point to close at $37.29 by the end of the day.
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.
Beechcraft recently certified a range of wireless in-flight connectivity equipment to fit low- and high-occupancy aircraft and has begun installations.
ATG 2000, a new Aircell equipment package that provides Gogo Biz Internet and voice service, is available with certified Wi-Fi as an upgrade through Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) for most Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft.
Beechcraft appointed South Africa-based Absolute Aviation an authorized parts distributor for sub-Saharan Africa. Absolute Aviation, which has acted as Beechcraft’s exclusive aircraft distributor for sub-Saharan Africa since 2011, will have $1 million of inventory in stock at Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, to support the Beechcraft product line as well as the Hawker 125 series.
Beechcraft today announced the appointment of South Africa-based Absolute Aviation as an authorized parts distributor for sub-Saharan Africa. Absolute Aviation, Beechcraft’s exclusive distributor for the region since 2011, will house a stock of inventory worth $1 million at Lanseria Airport near Johannesburg, to support Beechcraft products as well as the Hawker 125 series.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has completed its investigation into the Dec. 10, 2011, aborted takeoff of a Beech 1900D at Gander, Newfoundland, when the crew discovered the control column was stuck in the full forward position during the takeoff roll. The investigation found that overnight parking on the ramp in gusty conditions without a control lock had damaged the aircraft’s elevator. Maintenance personnel did not check the controls as required before the first flight of the day on the morning of the takeoff.
The company’s XPR program provides performance upgrades for Hawker 400 and 800 series jets, with options for new avionics and upgraded engines. Purchase of an already upgraded Hawker 400XPR or 800XPR, at around half the price of a similar new aircraft, is another option for cost-conscious buyers.
The fallout of the Hawker Beechcraft bankruptcy continues to settle as Little Rock (Ark.) Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport prepares to seek a new tenant for the former Wichita OEM’s completion and MRO facilities. The Little Rock facility was shut down by the former Hawker Beechcraft (now Beechcraft) earlier this year as part of a decision to exit the business of building business jets.
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.