As the Dubai Air Show celebrates its “Perfect Ten”, Hawker Beechcraft is also celebrating a milestone. It is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Beechcraft brand’s formation in 1932, and is claiming that as a ‘year zero’ for the company.

In fact Hawker Beechcraft is a new business, formed earlier his year following the purchase by Onex and Goldman Sachs of Raytheon Aircraft Company, owner of Beechcraft since 1980 and the Hawker nameplate since 1993.

Here at Dubai it is showcasing its Hawker 4000 and Hawker 900XP, which are both making debuts in the Middle East. The Wichita, US-based company is also displaying a Hawker 400XP, Beechcraft Premier IA and a Beechcraft King Air 350.

As business aviation becomes more accessible to business users in the region, the company has seen sales of its Premier IA light jet, super light Hawker 750 and mid-size Hawker 900XP rise.

“We are looking forward to showing customers in the Middle East our latest product offerings,” says Ted Farid, vice president New Business Development. “2007 has been a very exciting year for us as we’ve grown our international sales, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the company and the 60th anniversary of the iconic Beechcraft Bonanza, and become a new independent company. Our employees and customers have just been ecstatic about where we are headed and we expect orders at the Dubai Air Show to reflect that excitement.”

Strengthened by the demand for private aviation across the region, that is driving a robust local market, Hawker Beechcraft is bullish about improving its fleet in the region. At January’s MEBA show, Saudi-based National Air Services ordered 20 Hawker 750s worth $250million, making it the largest order on record in the region. Bahraini Rizon Jet started offering charter flights this spring with a Premier IA, and at the Paris Air Show ordered another Premier IA. Rizon also has plans to take delivery of a Hawker 900XP too.

Brad Hatt, president commercial sales, says there is a tremendous amount of private investment in the region and that it is ripe for sustained economic growth. “Hawker Beechcraft has been active in the Middle East for several decades and will continue to build strong relationships with companies and leaders in the future.”

The Hawker 750 and the 900XP are the replacements for the iconic and highly successful Hawker 850XP – which itself has a long and proud heritage from the original Hawker Siddley HS125 series of aircraft. Indeed, the original Hawker brand is much older than 75 – it was formed in 1920.

The 900XP comes to Dubai as the newest certified aircraft and above and beyond the 850XP offers new Honeywell TFE731-50R engines and in-house winglets. The new engines improve hot and high performance and with the increase in fuel efficiency now offers an almost 2,800nm range. Hawker Beechcraft says that because the engine uses five percent less fuel and has a ten percent lower engine maintenance cost (for MSP enrolled engines) that operators will see direct operating costs reduced by 5%, and cost per nautical mile drop 6%.

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Source: Flight International