Hawker Beechcraft announced on Tuesday that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court has given them the go-ahead to enter into exclusive negotiations with Superior Aviation Beijing Co. for up to 45 days to hammer out a deal and keep the company afloat. The action means that Superior can start to make payments to Hawker to sustain the jet business, with $25 million expected by the end of this week, and another $25 million within 30 days. The money “provides us with funding to preserve jobs as we simultaneously negotiate a potential transaction with Superior,” said Hawker CEO Steve Miller. “At this time,” he said, “pursuing the potential transaction with Superior is in the best interests of the company and its various stakeholders, including our creditors, our employees, our suppliers and our customers.”
If the negotiations with Superior fail to pan out, Hawker Beechcraft will likely phase out its jet line and offer a “more focused portfolio of aircraft,” according to Tuesday’s news release. This process “likely would have commenced already but for Superior’s compelling proposal to the company,” the news release says. The deal will not include the Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co., which produces the T-6 trainer and is developing the AT-6 light attack aircraft. Superior said last week it intends to make Hawker its “flagship investment.” Even if Superior and Hawker come to an agreement, the deal is still subject to various approvals by the bankruptcy court and government agencies before it can be completed, and other potential buyers will have an opportunity to outbid Superior.