It was just a few short years ago that Embraer, with only one business jet in its stable and the market for 50-seat regional jets maturing, made the decision to suit-up for the business jet game. Now, at NBAA 2008, nobody doubts that this Brazilian manufacturer is pursuing its campaign as fiercely, and successfully, as it fought Bombardier et al for RJ sales.
PremiAir is set to complete the relocation of its Hawker Beechcraft authorized service center to Oxford from Blackbushe Airport near Farnborough early this month. The business aircraft services group has leased a former CSE Aviation hangar, with Oxford Airport investing almost $2 million to overhaul and expand the facility.
How concerned are you, in light of the turmoil on Wall Street, that what started with a housing bubble could snowball and become a business jet bubble?Obviously we’re concerned, and we’re carefully monitoring the situation. Historically, when the aircraft industry has gone into a downturn there has always been something in the world that caused it. Before this it was 9/11 and the tech bubble.
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.
To see where business jet maintenance is headed, just look at mechanics’ toolboxes. Those who turn wrenches on the most modern airplanes still need the standard-issue screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets and ratchets, but they also need a powerful computer to analyze what ails their charges.
Calling it one of the most complex design efforts ever undertaken in the field of avionics, Honeywell engineering executives were popping champagne corks last month in celebration of the freshly issued FAA papers certifying the Primus Epic integrated avionics system.
In those first 100 years, the human race soared from Kill Devil Hills, N.C., to the moon and back, and the corporate aircraft eventually became the boardroom and the office. But as NBAA gathers in central Florida for the second year in a row–and just two years removed from 9/11– security and access to airports and airspace have taken on new urgency and meaning.
With the exception of Raytheon Aircraft and Embraer, jet manufacturers suffered significant delivery losses in this period. Shipments of new business jets in the first half of this year tumbled nearly 37 percent compared with the first half of last year, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
Raytheon Aircraft’s financials for the second quarter showed a healthy increase with net sales of $627 million, up from $562 million for that period last year. Also on the positive side of the ledger, the Wichita-based company delivered 49 aircraft, 14 more than were delivered in the second quarter a year ago.
Ongoing software integration problems are forcing at least two airframe manufacturers into the unenviable position of having to stretch aircraft certification schedules to give Honeywell engineers time to troubleshoot a variety of technical issues that are manifesting themselves in the Primus Epic avionics system.