Hawker Beechcraft: GA Deliveries Up

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In first-quarter reports released this week, Hawker Beechcraft reported aircraft deliveries in its business and general aviation segments were up compared to the same period last year, but revenues were down. Hawker said it delivered 45 business and GA aircraft in the first quarter 2011, compared to 34 in the first quarter 2010. "We are coming off of a solid 2010 and our momentum into 2011 is encouraging," said CEO Bill Boisture. "While the first quarter is historically a quieter one for the industry, we believe the uptick in our aircraft shipments and increased backlog is evidence of the ongoing demand for our products." Despite higher delivery numbers, however, revenues were down by about $49 million over last year, at $286 million. The company said the decrease was due to a higher percentage of lower-priced aircraft in the 2011 deliveries, plus lower revenues from the sale of used aircraft received as trade-ins.

Boisture said other factors contributed to the "significant losses" in the business and GA segment, including higher sales and marketing expenses related to international expansion, expenses associated with cost-reduction initiatives, and continuing weakness in the general aviation market. "Due to strong sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, we started the year with fewer jets in inventory, which in turn led to four fewer jet deliveries compared to the first quarter of last year," he said. "However, we delivered 15 more Beechcraft aircraft versus last year -- including several special mission aircraft -- which speaks to the market recognizing the inherent attributes of Beechcraft products' efficiency and utility, especially in a down market." He added that he is "cautiously optimistic" that a recovery for GA will begin next year, as most industry analysts have forecasted.