Hawker planning single-engine plane

-- May 14--Hawker Beechcraft is planning to enter the single-engine turboprop market with a new aircraft, according to a report by Flight International. Citing industry sources, the report said that the airplane is in the...


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May 14--Hawker Beechcraft is planning to enter the single-engine turboprop market with a new aircraft, according to a report by Flight International.

Citing industry sources, the report said that the airplane is in the advanced planning stage.

Hawker Beechcraft officials declined to comment on specific product development programs.

But it continually develops new or derivative products, said Hawker Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander.

In the past decade, the company has brought to market 18 new or derivative products, Alexander said.

"There is no reason to believe we are not looking to do the same moving forward," she said.

According to the report, the clean-sheet aircraft would compete with the Cessna Caravan, Pilatus PC-12, Daher-Socata TBM 850 and the Piper Meridian.

But that makes the aircraft the company is considering unclear, said Teal Group aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia.

For one, the Caravan and PC-12 aren't competitors. "They're different design parameters," Aboulafia said.

It wouldn't make sense for Hawker to go after the Caravan market, Aboulafia said.

"It's a different market, different operators," he said. "I'm not so sure there's room for more than one (aircraft in that market), even though the Cessna folks do have good numbers with that."

It would make sense, however, for Hawker Beechcraft to go after the Pilatus PC-12 market, he said.

The market for single-engine business aircraft has held up well, he said. The Pilatus PC-12 had a record 2009.

"The single-engine business aircraft, led by the PC-12, has eaten into the bottom of the King Air market," Aboulafia said.

It would fill the niche between the Beechcraft Baron and the King Air B200GT.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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