What's Next For Raytheon Aircraft?
Raytheon Aircraft CEO Jim Schuster said he believes Onex and GS Capital are committed to ensuring that Raytheon Aircraft builds the best aircraft and expands its product line. On this note, Teal Group Vice President of Analysis Richard Aboulafia told AVweb, "Raytheon Aircraft really needs to diversify its product line, and the move to split the Hawker 850XP into two models – the Hawker 750 and 900XP – was a good start. They should be using other people's technology, such as new engines and avionics, to create a broadened product line with strategic price points – much like Cessna does." He said it is "very much time" that the Premier I be made into a family of aircraft: "The new owners need to launch the Premier II and then later on the Premier III. Derivatives are a great way to broaden a product line." But since the Premier I is no longer considered an entry-level airplane, Aboulafia noted that Raytheon should look at developing a very light jet in the $3.5 million to $4 million price range. While such a VLJ could cannibalize sales of the King Air, he said "it's better than having your competition do this for you." However, he pointed out that the King Air line could easily be improved just by adding more range and interior improvements. Aboulafia suggests that the newly certified Hawker 4000 is also a good platform for another family of airplanes.