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Wed, Dec 07, 2011

HBC Puts The Brakes On Hawker 200 Program

CEO Boisture Cites Ongoing Economic Pressure In 'Slowing' The Program

The news from Washington continues to be about a slow recovery, but try telling that to the folks working on the Hawker 200 light jet program, who with the rest of the company got some unwelcome news from top management.

Hawker 200 Unveiled At NBAA 2010

Granted, the announcement could have been much worse. Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said in a letter sent to "Fellow Hawker Beechcraft Employees" last Friday and forwarded to ANN Tuesday that he was putting the brakes on development of the Hawker 200.

The letter reads, in its entirety:

"As you are aware, our industry is facing one of the most challenging markets in its history. The light jet segment has been particularly hard hit. Most manufacturers have made difficult decisions and are hopeful for a timely recovery. Unfortunately, economists and third-party industry analysts agree the timing of that recovery remains uncertain.

Our Hawker 200 light jet continues to meet or exceed all performance objectives in the flight test program and market acceptance has been impressive. The aircraft’s substantially higher cruise speeds, lower fuel consumption at high speeds, and the fact that it has the largest cabin cross section of any light jet have made it popular among discerning buyers.

However given the fragile, global economic situation and its impact on the current and forecasted light jet segment, we have determined that the prudent management decision is to slow the pace of the completion of the Hawker 200 certification program until indicators reflect a healthier light jet market.

It is important to note that we are at a natural pause point in the program. Development testing is nearly complete, the transition to certification flight testing has begun, and we are well positioned to continue from this point when the time is right.

The Hawker 200 is important to the future of our company. We will take this opportunity to verify the value proposition of the aircraft in light of additional new technology that may be applicable to this already dominating platform. This could result in a benefit to current order holders, as well as future buyers.

I think it’s also important to inform you that despite the difficult light jet market other segments are showing some stability. As a result of those indicators, we are increasing our turboprop and jet aircraft production rates to meet market demand for 2012.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to producing the finest business, military and special mission aircraft available.

FMI: www.hawkerbeechcraft.com

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