Beechcraft Secures Funding for Future Aircraft Development

Piston, turboprop models in the works.

Hawker Beechcraft

Hawker Beechcraft

After Hawker Beechcraft last week revealed plans to resuscitate its ailing business by shedding its jet product portfolio and focusing on a line of revitalized piston and turboprop models, a big unanswered question centered on where the bankrupt company would find the funding to develop and certify not just one but as many as four new airplanes.

Now we have an answer. According to insiders, Hawker Beechcraft’s new owners have pledged the money the manufacturer will need to launch one new piston model and perhaps as many as three new turboprop models in the coming years. The first of these could be a Pratt & Whitney-powered turboprop single based on the composite fuselage of the Premier I light business jet, the company revealed.

Hawker Beechcraft has unveiled a bankruptcy exit plan that would give control of the company to four secured creditors, a negotiated settlement reached after its proposed sale to Superior Aviation Beijing of China fell through last month. According to the plan, 81.1 percent of the company’s new equity would be handed over to senior lenders Angelo Gordon & Co., Centerbridge Partners, Sankaty Advisors and Capital Research & Management. The rest of the equity would go to senior and junior noteholders, according to the filing. Current owners Goldman Sachs and Onex Capital Partners would walk away from the company.

The plan would allow the manufacturer to emerge as a standalone entity next year under just the Beechcraft name. The plan requires creditor and court approval, although the four major creditors have reportedly already signed off on the plan, including a pledge for the funding needed to bring the new Beechcraft products to market. The deal also includes plans for new “alternative fuel” engines for the Bonanza and Baron, which the company says will probably be jet-A-burning diesels.