In the third layoff since April, Hawker Beechcraft laid off another 125 workers at its Wichita facility last week, bringing the number of employees to 4,075, just 75 above the number it must maintain to keep local incentive funds. The state’s incentive package requires Hawker Beechcraft to keep its current product lines in Wichita and to retain at least 4,000 jobs in Kansas over 10 years. If the company does not, it will be subject to certain repayment obligations, according to court documents related to the company’s restructuring.
AOPA Reporting Points, a blog maintained by AOPA’s editors, predicted in May that a reorganization plan would emerge by the end of June. It did, but only because of a leak to The Wichita Eagle. The plan calls for retaining the piston-engine lines of production, a move also predicted in the Reporting Points blog. Options include ending all jet production, but aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia has told Wichita television station KAKE that doing so would leave Hawker Beechcraft (just the Beechcraft part would remain) without a critical mass needed to survive. It is more likely the company will drop several jets from its production line.
Jets that would be eliminated are the Premiere, the Hawker 200, and the Hawker 4000. Both the Premiere and Hawker 200 are dropped by all the options presented in a plan filed with the bankruptcy court. Hawker Beechcraft hopes to emerge as an independent company when Chapter 11 proceedings are complete.
Hindering that are concerns by suppliers to provide parts. With the bankruptcy came funds to continue operations, including buying parts. Some parts manufacturers were concerned that they may not get paid, and that was attributed by some as responsible for the earlier layoffs. Whether that played a part in the latest round of layoffs is unclear.