October 29, 2012
Credit: Credit: Hawker Beechcraft
Hawker Beechcraft is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to cancel certain warranties and factory-sponsored programs for the Hawker 4000 and Premier 1A composite planes. The Wichita airframer Oct. 29 filed its amended joint plan of reorganization filed today, outlining a scenario in which it would curb support for the Hawker 4000 and Premier 1A and renegotiate existing agreements for the Hawker 900XP, 750 and 400XP to reflect out-of-production aircraft.
The amended plan was filed after the company ended negotiations with Superior Air Beijing and made the decision with its primary lenders to move forward as a standalone “Beechcraft Corp.” company.
Speaking to reporters during the National Business Aviation Association’s annual meeting and convention Oct. 29, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. Chairman Boisture says, “there’s a lot of decisions yet to be made in the process we’re in,” and the companies are exploring a range of options for its shuttered jet lines. The options could range from a company that would want to buy the lines outright to owners who would want to buy the type certificates to protect their investments.
Hawker Beechcraft had received six bids in the spring for some or all parts of the company, and Boisture says the company is revisiting those bidders to gauge the interest in the jets, as well as receiving new inquiries from potential buyers. Boisture characterizes the level of interest as “substantial,” but he also cautions that a complete closure of the lines would not be out of the realm of possibility.
As the plan of reorganization was filed, Hawker Beechcraft began notifying its decisions surrounding support, which essentially would orphan the Hawker 4000, should no buyer for the program emerge. This includes cancelling warranties, the guaranteed maintenance program SupportPlus and the Hawker 4000 Upgrade and Enhancement program. It also includes cancelling warranties and SupportPlus for the Premier 1A.
As for the Hawker 900XP, 750 and 400XP, Hawker Beechcraft will continue to honor all warranties, including engine, avionics, airframe and systems and are planning to replace existing SupportPlus agreements with an amended agreement tailored for out-of-production aircraft.
As part of the bankruptcy, “We had to make difficult choices about our jet products,” Boisture says, acknowledging that the decisions are significant. “Bankruptcy is a last resort option for a reason. We are truly sorry to have disappointed our customers with this decision.” He estimates the decision affects about 150 airplanes.
He noted that as far as the fate of the jet products, the major constituents had voted in May, and said the process is not “open ended.” Hawker Beechcraft expects to appear before the bankruptcy court on its plan Nov. 15 and hopes to emerge from bankruptcy early next year.