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.
John (Rick) Haskins, one of the founding partners and former president and CEO of Jet Support Services (JSSI), died last week in Chicago at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer. He led the company, the first independent engine hourly-cost maintenance program provider, from its inception in 1989 until its 2008 sale to private equity firms R.H. Book and 1848 Capital Partners. Haskins then went on to found an investment firm that provides growth capital to aviation-related companies, and to lead a short-lived helicopter airport shuttle service.
Business aircraft trading has started to move more freely, but the fallout from the financial crisis continues to cast a shadow over the market, according to JetBrokers Europe. The UK-based group says brokers are having to work harder and be more inventive to get deals closed. And buyers are facing much closer scrutiny from lenders.
For the business aviation industry, the past year has been a trying one, to say
the least. Aircraft sales and usage declined steeply as the economic downturn tightened its grip, forcing operators to cope with the new financial realities, and in some cases with disparaging views of the industry.
Bank of America and Avjet Aviation Services yesterday announced a strategic alliance whereby business jet buyers will receive preferred terms if they finance their airplane through Bank of America and enter into a management agreement with Avjet.
The results of a major bank merger are on display at the NBAA Convention. The aircraft-financing divisions of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo and Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia, which was acquired by Wells Fargo on December 31, are showcasing their offerings together in the exhibit hall.
Perception is reality. That was the message yesterday from European and U.S. business aviation leaders who are waging an image campaign against politicians and the media engaged in class warfare against travelers who fly privately.
Credit is tight, but money is available. That’s the message from Jim Pulie, director of business development for Center Capital’s general aviation division.
As the global economy churns, the aviation finance market holds its breath. A recent report from UK-based aviation analysis firm IBA Group predicts that financing will become even more difficult to secure as the year progresses, as lenders chart a cautious course through the turmoil.
Long Island-based jet charter and management company ExcelAire has been selected to join Executive Jet Management, Jet Aviation and Jet Direct as a partner by Bank of America’s aircraft financing division. According to the bank, customers seeking aircraft financing will be offered discounted lease terms if they select one of these management providers.