With Hawker Beechcraft attempting to clear the final hurdle in Chapter 11 proceedings and emerge from bankruptcy, Judge Stuart Bernstein said earlier today that he would approve the joint plan of reorganization for all but one of the subsidiaries currently under Chapter 11 protection. Bernstein reserved judgment regarding the Hawker Beechcraft Corp.
The Boeing bargaining unit of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) has set a date of February 4 for sending strike ballots to its members, union director Ray Goforth told AIN last Wednesday. Members of the Bargaining Unit Council (BUC), consisting of all the company’s “relevant” shop stewards, reached the decision on Tuesday night, during a meeting in which the council agreed to support the negotiating team’s rejection of the company’s “best and final offer.”
JPMorgan North America Equity Research is forecasting a 5-percent rise in business jet deliveries this year, according to the firm’s latest monthly business jet report. It predicts that 627 business jets (excluding very light jets) will be shipped this year, compared with an estimated 596 jet deliveries last year.
In a filing in bankruptcy court just before Christmas, Hawker Beechcraft asked for court approval to shed two underfunded pension plans covering some 9,500 non-union workers and retirees. The request is part of an agreement with the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) and the OEM’s machinists’ union. Terms of the agreement require PBGC to assume responsibility for the two terminated pensions, while Hawker Beechcraft will keep the pension plan covering its 8,200 current and former union employees. A hearing to consider the plan is scheduled for January 17.
A major hurdle facing Hawker Beechcraft in its effort to restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the sale of the Wichita OEM’s inventory of Hawker 4000s. The hearing date for the company’s request for court approval of the sale is now set for December 11, following a decision last week by judge Stuart Bernstein to deny the company’s request for an expedited hearing and sale.
Business jet demand “remains weak, but is not getting much worse,” JPMorgan Investment Research noted in its latest business jet monthly report. This sentiment is reflected in its forecast of 2 percent growth in business jet deliveries for next year.
Aviation insurer Chartis has added crisis response coverage to aviation policies for corporate customers, including airports and charter management companies. The new product provides customers access to immediate funds for crisis management costs resulting from a catastrophic event. With the coverage, policyholders can receive up to $250,000 of additional policy limits for costs associated with hiring a crisis management firm to help manage reputation risk, as well as for other crisis-related expenses, such as temporary living, travel, counseling, medical and funeral costs.
At the NBAA Convention later this month in Orlando, Fla., “Manufacturers will likely emphasize the potential for rising deliveries beyond 2012, pockets of demand strength and the products they are developing,” JPMorgan aerospace analysts wrote in the firm’s latest business jet monthly report, released yesterday. “However, with U.S. and European flight ops flat to down year-to-date, Chinese demand facing pressure and OEM backlogs yet to turn up decisively, optimism should be muted.”
Russian Helicopters has received “initial credit ratings” from Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service, which assigned long-term ratings of BB+ and Ba2, respectively, with “stable” outlooks. “Credit ratings are an important step in the development of Russian Helicopters, as the company seeks to emulate global best practice standards of corporate governance and financial transparency,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov.
JPMorgan downgraded Embraer yesterday from overweight to neutral, in large part due to concerns about Embraer’s airliner business. However, the investment firm noted that “continued weakness” in flight operations and other indicators “are leading us to dial back our business jet delivery forecast,” but it still predicts healthy growth in this segment.