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Hawker Beechcraft CEO takes on Obama administrationHawker Beechcraft CEO takes on Obama administration

Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill BoistureHawker Beechcraft Chairman and CEO Bill Boisture said targeting of the private aircraft industry both in terms of user fees and fiscal proposals appears to be intentional, and called fiscal policies such as user fees and depreciation schedules “irresponsible.”

The perceived attacks have damaged customer confidence, and contributed to some, perhaps the last 25 percent, of all employee layoffs and workforce reductions, Boisture said. “To have singled out our industry is irresponsible,” he said. “It must be intended,” he said in later comments.

In other remarks, Boisture said his staff decided long ago to treat the current recession as “the new normal,” and unfortunately that has proven true. “The only consistent thing we see is inconsistency,” he said. He added that, “…2012 looks like 2011, which looks like 2010.” What remains is a smaller, agile, efficient, and flexible company, he said. Nearly one million square feet of factory space has been closed, and 20,000 parts have been transferred to third-party manufacturers or to facilities in Mexico.

He said the new strategy to improve and retrofit existing products is seen in the Hawker 400XPR upgrades. “It is a very significant step in that direction,” he said. The company is testing the T-6 Texan as an attack aircraft that will be offered to the world’s air forces. Many of the countries planning to use the T-6 already have them in use as trainers. Another military push is the King Air, now offered for special missions and medical evacuation. Nearly a third of all special missions aircraft in use are built by Hawker Beechcraft.

The upgrades apply as well to the piston-engine models, the twin-engine Baron, and the Bonanza, which received newly designed interiors and cabin temperature control systems.

Hawker Beechcraft is continuing to expand and improve service centers, with a new one about to open in Wilmington, Del., and another just announced in Mexico.

Asked about a downgrade by Moody’s that indicates Hawker is not expected to return to profitability soon, Boisture said, “We are in good standing with our suppliers, customers, and our people. We have strong ownership. We are in good company [concerning the Moody’s rating]. About half the companies in Europe are on the same list.”

Hawker Executive Vice President Shawn Vick, who noted the King Air 250 is getting good reviews around the world for its short- and high-altitude runway capabilities, also took a swipe at the Obama administration. “Hopefully this nonsense ends soon and we can all get back to work,” he said.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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