Worldwide shipments of business aircraft in the first six months of the year set a record as the industry’s best first half ever. With final numbers yet to be released by Airbus and Piaggio, the industry recorded shipments in the first half of the year of 518 airplanes, compared with the 503 total aircraft shipped in the first half of last year.
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.
Raytheon said it achieved initial operating capability (IOC) for a second limited-production version of its new standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars) at the Tracon facility serving Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks, Conn.
“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.”
News from Raytheon Aircraft Co. (RAC) for the last several years has been mostly bad. For the three years before Jim Schuster’s appointment as chairman and CEO of RAC last May, the Wichita-based airplane manufacturer posted ever-increasing expenses, with operating cash flow consuming nearly $1 billion over that time. So it is no wonder that the first thing Schuster did when he took over was to examine the OEM’s financials.
Raytheon Aircraft reported an operating loss of $41 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $4 million in the first quarter a year ago. The Wichita-based company also recorded sales of $494 million in the first quarter, down 22 percent from $637 million in the same period a year ago.
Raytheon Aircraft Services in the UK has received RVSM group approval for Hawker 700s. The company is now seeking FAA approval. For older Hawker 700Bs requiring the replacement of mechanical altimeters with digital equipment and an air-data computer (ADC), the mod costs approximately $123,000. For later 700s, which require only the ADC installation and other modifications, the cost falls to about $65,000.
Raytheon Aircraft’s failure to provide wing-structure data will delay by several months Aviation Partners’ blended winglet program for the Hawker 800, a program for which the Seattle-based modification designer had hoped to receive certification this summer.
With the consummation of the Flight Options/Raytheon Travel Air merger on March 21, the fractional ownership business is “a two-horse race between Flight Options and NetJets, relegating the other providers to boutique markets.” So says Flight Options CEO Kenn Ricci, characteristically confident in the future of the frax operator he founded in 1998.
Alpha Omega Jet Services, launched in late 2000 as an aircraft management and consulting firm, went into the completion and refurb business last month with the acquisition of Aircraft Components Manufacturing. Both companies reside at Sulphur Springs (Texas) Municipal Airport. As a subcontractor, ACM had done the cabinetry work for four Boeing Business Jets finished by the former Raytheon Aircraft Integration Systems.