Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon, during its third-quarter earnings conference this morning, announced its decision to sell Flight Options, its Cleveland-based business aircraft fractional share division. On October 15 the company entered into a definitive agreement to sell the fractional provider to HIG Capital, a Miami-based global private investment firm.
In a move that appeared to bring Raytheon a step closer to concluding its intention to take control of the operations of fractional jet provider Flight Options, company chairman and CEO Kenn Ricci stepped down last month and was replaced by John Nahill, formerly v-p of corporate strategy and development at Raytheon Co. He was named chairman and CEO in a unanimous vote by the nine-member board.
In a continuing realignment of its Beechcraft and Hawker product lines, Raytheon Aircraft announced at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition last month in Geneva that it is dropping the venerable Beechjet 400A name and replacing it with Hawker 400XP.
As Raytheon Aircraft works to pull itself out of its financial hole, development of the Hawker Horizon continues with “absolutely no showstoppers,” according to Jim Schuster, chairman and CEO.
Business aviation in Asia–particularly in China–was the focus of this year’s Asian Aerospace, held in Hong Kong from September 3 through 6. This year’s event also marked the show’s debut at a new venue– Asia World Expo at Hong Kong International Airport–as show organizer Reed Exhibitions moved the event from Singapore after its joint venture with that government ended.
Aero Charter is here at NBAA’07 (Booth No. 5318) celebrating its 30th year of operation under a single owner. CEO Bob Thomas and his partner, John Morgenthaler, Jr., are both pilots. “I go by what the customer wants. We are straight-shooters. We show the customer how to do what they want to do,” Thomas said.
Local pilot Brian Ross is a big fan of Aviation Partners winglets after adding the efficiency-improving devices to all four of his employer’s Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 800s. Ross is director of operations for Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), the soft-drink distribution company that is partially owned by Coca-Cola. CCE’s Hawker 800s are hangared at a corporate facility at Fulton County Airport/Brown Field. Aviation Partners (Booth No.
Hawker Beechcraft (Booth No. 6159) has announced AirCell’s Axxess II satcom system is now a factory option on new 900XP midsize and 750 light-midsize jets. The option was developed through an STC awarded to the Hawker Beechcraft Little Rock, Ark. alteration station. The system will be provisioned for equipment operating on AirCell’s exclusive broadband frequency, available next year, or the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband service.
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment firm, has a thing for business aviation, according to Sanjeev Mehra, the firm’s managing director. Raytheon Aircraft, purchased on March 26 this year, was its most recent acquisition. Investment funds controlled by the Goldman Sachs affiliate Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Canada’s Onex Partners bought the Wichita OEM for $3.3 billion in debt and equity and renamed it Hawker Beechcraft.
Bill Brown, president of global customer support for Hawker Beechcraft, arrived at the NBAA Convention with a renewed sense of enthusiasm following the sale of the company by defense contractor Raytheon to investors Goldman Sachs and Onex Capital Partners. That type of transaction isn’t always a reason for optimism, but in case of the Wichita manufacturer, the future is looking bright.