One of the most thorough corporate management shakeups in recent memory has left Raytheon Aircraft Co. (RAC) insiders and outsiders scribbling notes to keep track of who went where and why.
“I hate calling problems on airplanes ‘squawks,’” Jim Schuster, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft Co., said last month. “Squawk–it just sounds bad. But even more I hate how we’ve been taking it for granted that the customer is going to find squawks when he takes delivery of his airplane. To me that’s just an indication of poor quality.”
The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) is returning to the scene of its highly successful debut last April, when the second annual event opens its doors once again at Geneva’s Palais d’Expositions (Palexpo) from May 28 to 30.
Wichita-based Raytheon Travel Air and Cleveland-based Flight Options on March 20 completed their planned merger, first announced December 20, creating the second-largest fractional aircraft provider. Under the joint venture, Flight Options holds a 50.1-percent stake in the new company, while Raytheon Co. retains a 49.9-percent share.
Hawker Beechcraft reported continued strong sales for its airplane offerings in the first quarter, though snags with the Hawker 4000 resulted in the Wichita aircraft manufacturer posting a $1.5 million loss for the period. “The loss was the consequence of an $18.4 million charge related to early production Hawker 4000 aircraft,” the company said.
The world’s economy may be in a financial funk, but you wouldn’t know it from the advance sales for this month’s NBAA 54th Annual Meeting and Convention in New Orleans. Despite the global monetary downturn, at press time nearly 5,000 booth spaces had been sold to more than 1,000 exhibitors–124 of which are first-timers.
Last year’s dot-com nosedive has taken its toll on the startup companies planning to build new business aircraft and seeking ever more elusive investor funding. Notably, Century Aerospace in June indefinitely shelved its plans to build the entry-level six-place, twin-turbofan Century Jet.
When the going gets tough, marketing departments heat up their branding irons. Or so it seemed at the 55th NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention in Orlando, Fla., last month. No fewer than three major business aircraft manufacturers announced new or reinvigorated brands for at least one of their offerings (see full stories elsewhere in this issue). The moves were as much a reaction to the wishy-washy U.S.
By almost any measure NBAA’s annual convention, held September 10 to 12 in Orlando, Fla., can be considered a rousing success.
The Chinese proverb “may you live in interesting times” certainly seems appropriate for manufacturers and would-be manufacturers of new business airplanes. Interesting times indeed: with the weaker than expected economic recovery, and the specter of a possible double-dip recession, even some established, well financed business aircraft manufacturers are stretching out timelines for their respective new products.