Hawker Beechcraft is searching for partners to develop a world-class group of customer support facilities to meet the “amazing” growth of the business aviation market outside North America.

“We are in the midst of one of the greatest markets in general aviation,” says Hawker Beechcraft president Jim Schuster in an interview with Flight Evening News. “The international [non-US] markets are growing so significantly that the whole general aviation market has changed for ever.” Schuster predicts the Hawker Beechcraft business will pass the 50% mark for both sales and delivery in the next year.

“We have got to expand our international footprint as these markets grow,” he says. “We want to be partnered with the right people in those regions and countries. We are actively looking for people who want to invest in general aviation and who have access to capital and the right reputation. We bring a brand, we bring parts, technical know-how, tool and training and so on. In turn for helping us set up and partnering with us to establish a service capability, they in turn get a great brand and access to the things we bring.

“With all the countries that are emerging, it would be cost prohibitive for any company to say I’m going to put up my own brick and mortar and do all the investment model ourselves.”

The Wichita-headquartered business – now owned by a financial consortium of Goldman Sachs and Onex – is aiming at replicating the model of its “Hawker Town” complex in Little Rock, Arkansas.

First could be the company’s newly relocated international sales office at Chester, England. Chester has had long connotations with the Hawker brand and already supports the NetJets Europe Hawker aircraft from there as well as building the fuselage and the wings for the Hawker 800 series.

“Little Rock offers a service facility, completions facility, sales facility, and we are expanding hanger facilities there. It really is a world-class operation,” says Schuster. “Our intent is to create the same kind of landed presence in Europe. Chester provides us with that great base. We are hiring more people for our international operations and we wanted them to be attached to that kind of operational base. Chester is not as logistically simple as Geneva, where we used to have our office, but that’s a small trade-off.

“Like everywhere else it has to operate well, efficiently and cost effectively. If we can expand our presence including jobs, then there is the potential there to do that,” Schuster says.

Source: Flight Daily News