November 2010 - Page 2 Aviation Articles

Gulfstream to add 1,000 to workforce

Those in southeast Georgia who anxiously wondered what would come from “Project X,” a year-old rumored development from Gulfstream Aerospace, can now rest easier. Meanwhile, economic and political leaders will probably consider popping corks on bottles of champagne.

During an announcement in Savannah this morning that included Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Gulfstream said it will add 1,000 jobs in production and engineering as it expands its offices and facilities in the area.

A report on the Savannah Morning News web site said today’s announcement is a $500 million, seven-year deal that will increase the Gulfstream employee roster by 15 percent.  

The news provides another bubble of warmth within a cool economy that has seen several other aircraft manufacturers announce job cuts in recent months and comes with cheers from local leaders, who say the expansion by the area's largest employer with spur additional economic activity in the region.

Ultra-large jets and orders of new aircraft increased in the latter part of 2010, while Gulfstream reported a growth in revenue. The company was one of several aircraft makers to begin rolling out larger, faster business jets during the recent trend. During testing, its ultra long-range G650 recently earned the title of fastest civilian aircraft.

Watch the AOPA Summit live online

The AOPA is streaming live its annual summit, being held this week in Long Beach, Calif. Events today included Cessna CEO Jack Pelton speaking, as well as John and Martha King receiving a safety award from the association.

If the embedding worked properly, you can watch live coverage from the event at the top of this post, or you can head over to the AOPA web site, where you can also join a live discussion via your Facebook account.

Other highlights include forums on IFR challenges and aircraft ownership, in addition to static displays and an exhibit hall.   

The Lindbergh Foundation hosts a summit event Friday at 10 a.m. entitled, “Aviation, the Environment & the Future.”

Also, the Summit has a Twitter account here that is posting updates.

An overview of the Hawker 200 light jet

Hawker Beechcraft

This week we are looking back on other aircraft developments during the 2010 NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention not previously discussed on the GlobalAir Blog.

Another aircraft from the week of NBAA 2010 came from Hawker Beechcraft aside from the King Air 250. (Scroll below or click here for more on that airplane.) Executives also rolled out the Hawker 200, a light jet modeled from the Premier II program.

A statement from Hawker Beechcraft says this newest addition to the Hawker jet family will fly high and fast without affecting cost and comfort. The company’s specs max it out at 450 knots and 43,000 feet while maintaining a lower operating cost than the other competitors in the small-jet race.

The single-pilot Hawker 200 combines new winglets, Williams International FJ44-3AP engines and a higher gross weight and ceiling to deliver on the company’s promises. Other highlights include MultiScan Weather Radar, ADS-B Out capability and 10-year composite airframe warranty. A mockup interior made the trip to NBAA 2010, where company officials sought feedback to fine-tune its layout.

After tallying up the changes, there was no question that this business jet had graduated into a new class and deserved nothing less than being called a Hawker, a brand synonymous with constant innovation, high performance, proven reliability and unmatched cabin comfort,” said Shawn Vick, executive vice president of Hawker Beechcraft, prior to the voyage to Atlanta, Ga.

First deliveries for the Hawker 200 are slated for late 2012.

Beechcraft King Air 250 to feature Hartzell 4-blade ASC-II composite prop

From Hawker Beechcraft

During the 2010 NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention last month, we came across too many updated aircraft with too few days to discuss them on here. This week we will look back on some of the developments announced during the business aviation event that were not discussed here last month.

Today we look at the Beechcraft King Air 250, unveiled on the day before the convention officially kicked off. Aviation International News reported last week that the King Air 250 will be the first turboprop aircraft to feature the composite Hartzell 4-blade ASC-II.

Hartzell says the propeller, also unveiled at the convention, reduces aircraft weight without taking away from strength or durability.

The 93-inch diameter blade is being considered for other aircraft, AIN reports, though Hartzell has yet to announce any of these formally. The blade also will fit late-model King Air 200s.

[more]The King Air 250, according to a statement from Hawker Beechcraft, also includes BLR Aerospace winglets and engine induction modifications to boost performance. It is modified from a King Air B200 GT.

The company says the aircraft will outperform all other King Air B200s on takeoff by 400 feet or more. (Sea level takeoff over a 50-foot obstacle at max gross weight is 2,111 feet, according to the statement.)

“The shorter runway capability found in the King Air 250 provides our customers access to more than 1,100 airports that were previously unavailable to them, allowing them to spend less travel time door-to-door by flying closer to their final destinations,” said Shawn Vick, an executive vice president with the company.

The King Air 250 should see its first deliveries during the second quarter of 2011, the company said.

Business Travel is up with Airlines and Business Aviation

News of the past two weeks indicates some signs of recovery in travel overall and maybe even the beginning of a recovery in the business aviation sector of travel.

But is it a real recovery across the entire industry?

USA Today reports that business travel is up, and surveys of travel executives indicates that their company’s people will travel more in 2011. Even though travel will be up there is a new mindset that is more frugal about how travel dollar are spent.

Excerpts from the USA Today article:

The economic downturn has left its mark. The ACTE survey finds that 54.1% of corporate travel executives in the U.S. are “encouraging or mandating” alternatives to travel, such as videoconferencing. And a survey by Egencia finds that 56% of North American travel managers say they increased advanced-ticket bookings in the last year to keep expenses in check.

“In general, travel managers and purchasers have decided this new frugality is working well, and it’s allowing them to do a lot with a limited travel budget, and they’re sticking with it,” says Noah Tratt, vice president, supplier relations for Egencia Americas.

That can mean squeezing two or three clients into a trip. Corporate fliers are more likely to be sitting in coach when criss-crossing the U.S., though they might be able to book business class for flights overseas. And business travelers may be asked to use the frequent-flier points they’ve accrued on business trips if they want to upgrade to a premium section.

A NY Times article reports that Gulfstream orders in the 3rd quarter were the best since 2008 and deliveries are up over last year. The catch here is that the majority of Gulfstream aircraft now are being sold outside the US.

The good news is that people still need to travel to grow business. Video conferencing has not yet totally replaced the face to face meeting.

[more]The bad news is that Cessna laid off another 700 employees in September and slowed production so the recovery is not across the board here in the US. Used aircraft prices are still depressed indicating a lack of demand. The manufacturers think, or hope, this will change in 2012.

It seems to me that the US Business Aviation market is going to be stuck in a no growth mode for 2011 with maybe some recovery in 2012, barring a major economic game changing event.

Where the growth seems to be is in Asia, India and Latin America. There is great opportunity in China where there are only about 1000 GA aircraft in the country of 1.4 billion people compared to 200,000 GA aircraft here in the US.

Has the US Business Aviation market reached maturity in its life cycle?

If so, then we must find ways to reinvent the business if we want growth.  Or move to China.

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