Hawker Beechcraft chief executive Bill Boisture says a restructured, leaner company will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of 2013 and seek a buyer to continue production of Hawker-series business jets.
The Wichita-based airframer announced on October 18 that exclusive acquisition talks with Superior Aviation Beijing had collapsed, forcing the company to refocus its strategy around continued production of Beechcraft products, as well as support for both Beechcraft turboprops and pistons and Hawker jets.
Although the "complex" transaction with Superior was unsuccessful, Chinese buyers are among the companies that could come forward to buy Hawker production lines, Boisture says in an interview.
A Chinese buyer of Hawker "is still a possibility," he says.
Meanwhile, Hawker Beechcraft will "renew discussions with former bidders and other interested parties that have approached us about Hawker."
Boisture also says certain products, such as the Hawker 4000, will not become orphaned jets as the company spins off the production line. "The Hawker 4000 type certificate will be in responsible hands and the continuous airworthiness responsibility that comes with that will be executed on behalf of the OEM [original equipment manufacturer]," Boisture says.
At the same time, however, Boisture says it is premature to lay out specific plans about whether the post-bankruptcy Beechcraft or another company will support the Hawker 4000.
Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy protection on 3 May, and wiped $2.5 billion in debt off its balance sheet by trading it for equity with the company's lenders. It then entered exclusive talks with Superior, a China-based aviation parts and kit-built helicopter supplier, in early July.
Bill Boisture - fighting for Hawker Beechcraft's future
Boisture says demand has remained strong for King Airs and T-6s, but no recovery is yet in sight for light and mid-size jets from the post-2007 market downturn.
"The worldwide market for business and general aviation airplanes at lower price points remain a difficult market both presently and in the next year," he says. "But we like the way the King Air and the piston products have performed."