Raytheon Aircraft has created separate Beechcraft and Hawker divisions as the manufacturer seeks to re-establish the brand values that made both marques successful in the past. Sales, delivery and support will be tailored to the two different customer groups. A product strategy for both brands is expected to be unveiled this month.

The Beechcraft line will include the piston-powered Bonanza and Baron, King Air twin-turboprops, Premier I entry-level business jet and light Beechjet 400A. The mid-size Hawker 800XP and super mid-size Hawker Horizon, now in development, will be marketed and supported by a separate division at Little Rock, Arkansas.

"The Horizon is the driving reason for the rebranding," says Hawker president Brad Hatt. The division will implement a product support programme that "exceeds heavy-jet customers' expectations". This will include a Hawker 800 for flying response teams to grounded aircraft; strategically selected service centres, and guaranteed cost/hour maintenance programmes.

Raytheon Aircraft will decide this month whether it will restart work on the light mid-size Hawker 450, development of which was halted to focus on the Premier and Horizon.

The Beechcraft line is aimed more towards owner/operators and the new single-pilot Premier I has been included in the line-up to give customers an "aspire-to" aircraft, says chief operating officer Bob Horowitz. "We want to keep King Air operators in the family with jets." Despite the "miserable" turboprop market, Raytheon's product plans "include the King Air going forward", says chief executive Jim Schuster, but the aircraft must be upgraded to remain competitive.

There are no plans to "plough development money" into the piston line, which is "about a break-even business" at the current production rate of around 100 aircraft a year, he says.

Source: Flight International