Hawker Beechcraft places thrust on biz jets

US-based business and trainer aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) is optimistic on business prospects in India and expects to grow its revenues in the country by about 10 per cent every year, amid concerns that 2013 would be a “tough” one.

Its Country Director of Sales in India, Todd Hattaway, spoke to Deccan Herald at the 9th edition of biennial aeronautical extravaganza, “Aero India 2013” on Wednesday onboard its static Beechcraft King Air 350i display unit.

“This year will be tough, but with general elections coming up next year, business prospects will be bright. We are also looking at a growth of about 10 per cent in India,” he said, adding that HBC has sold about 90 aircraft in India till date. According to HBC, India, South and North Asia is a region that is crucial to its future success, given that they are fast-growing economies.  

The $2.44 billion (2011 sales) HBC was showcasing its flagship aircraft – the Beechcraft King Air 350i – at the show. A study by aviation consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has estimated the executive jets market at 165 units in India.

Todd also said that revenues from India & China together would constitute a high growth market for HBC going forward, though it currently derives most of its revenues from the US & Europe.

Most of its customers are in coal mining, energy and pharmaceutical businesses, apart from sizeable business from chartered jets.

Todd said that the Indian Offset Partners (IOP) is an opportunity to look at potential business arrangements with Indian partners and that HBC is in talks, though he declined to name any firm.

Meanwhile, a press statement from HBC released last Friday said that a U S Bankruptcy Court approved its Joint Plan of Reorganization (Plan), paving the way for the company to emerge from Chapter 11 in the second half of February.

It expects the Plan to become effective by the end of February, once all of the conditions for effectiveness have been met, after which its pre-petition secured bank debt, unsecured bond debt, and certain general unsecured claims will be cancelled and holders of such claims will receive equity in the reorganized company.

The company also said that it plans to rename itself Beechcraft Corporation. It had a debt of $2.5 billion and filed for bankruptcy in May last year.

On Wednesday it appointed  Ted Farid as vice-president of sales for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which includes all of North and South Asia and India.

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