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.
Despite Hawker Beechcraft announcement earlier this month that it is to lay off 5 percent of its workforce in the face of the global economic slowdown, executives with the U.S. manufacturer here at the MEBA show say the Middle East remains one of the few remaining bright spots for airplane sales. This is why it recently opened a new sales office in Dubai.
The latest fleet data from UK-based consultancy Ascend clearly charts the impressive growth in Middle Eastern business aviation over the past few years. The number of business jets registered in Middle East countries has increased by almost 71 percent in the 10 years since October 1998, rising from 120 to 205 (see Fleet Growth chart below).
Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO Jim Schuster informed employees on Friday that the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer will lay off 5 percent of its workforce, affecting about 500 people. He cited “very serious challenges facing our company due to the unprecedented worldwide economic decline” as the reason for the layoffs.
Beechcraft 1900C-1, Bukavu, Congo, Sept. 1, 2008–Weather was reported severe when the Air Serve International/CemAir Beech 1900 crashed into a ridge eight miles from Bukavu. The airplane was on a humanitarian flight to Goma.
Hawker Beechcraft Beech 1900D, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 7, 2008–The empennage of the Great Lakes Aviation 1900 struck a building overhang while parking at its gate at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, aided by a marshaler and a wing walker. The vertical stabilizer was twisted and the rudder and the right side of the elevator were wrinkled. No one was injured.
Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) is spending $14 million to expand its aircraft maintenance and service facility at Indianapolis International Airport. The expansion will include a new 6,500-sq-ft terminal and a 40,000-sq-ft maintenance hangar with 20,000 sq ft of back shops and administrative offices. Up to 50 new jobs will be created, with the newly upgraded facility due to open in the second quarter next year.
Hawker Beechcraft announced the upgraded Hawker 450XP, featuring new engines, fadec-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535Ds that are 10 percent more fuel efficient than the 400XP’s JT15Ds and offer a 5,000-hour TBO. Avionics are Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21, and the cabin features Rockwell’s Venue entertainment/management system.
Singapore’s first Private Aviation Show, held at Seletar Airport on September 26 and 27, attracted more than 200 visitors. The event was supported by the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) and organized by Millionaire-Asia. Exhibitors included Bombardier, Dassault, Hawker Beechcraft, Lufthansa Private Jets, OrientSKYs, The Flying Club and VistaJet.