Hawker Beechcraft Revitalized

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Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster says the former Raytheon business aircraft unit has been given a will to live under its new owners Goldman Sachs and Canadian-based Onex Corp. "This was not a business that Raytheon saw as a core," Schuster told the Canadian newspaper, the National Post. "The objective of Raytheon was to get it positioned to operate at a certain level and sell it." That, he said, left the company making do with decades-old manufacturing equipment in a business that demands cutting edge innovation and Raytheon's inability to move quickly on product development hurt its position in the industry. But the breath of fresh air that blew in with the acquisition a year ago has changed all that, Schuster said.

He said the cash infusion that came along with the sale has allowed the company to start investing in modernization and aggressive marketing to take advantage of the global boom in business jet sales. "When we meet with Onex and Goldman Sachs, we're talking about strategies many years in the future," Schuster said. "These guys are in it for the long haul." The sale came just as the company gained certification for its Hawker 4000 super midsize, which has been selling well (111 orders) and could vault the planemaker into more prominence in the market. Although Hawker Beechcraft commands about 36 percent of the market in the limited sectors it serves, it only accounts for about 10 percent of total business jet sales.