Beechcraft piston owners remain relaxed about Chinese take-over
publication date: Sep 10, 2012
author/source: Alex Andrews
Owners of Beechcraft piston aircraft have said that the news surrounding Hawker Beechcraft's potential buy-out from Beijing-based Superior Aviation does not trouble them, as their sturdy aircraft require very little support.
With the latest rumours suggesting that the Chinese take-over is imminent, Beechcraft owners and potential buyers from across Europe congregated at a piston fly-in event held at Hawker Beechcraft's base at Hawarden Airport, North Wales (pictured, above), to celebrate Beechcraft's 80th anniversary.
Adrian Daley, who has owned a Beechcraft Bonanza G35 for 14 years, said: "From my perspective, I do not have any concerns with the Beechcraft factory. I have never had any need for factory support, I have no need to buy parts - this thing is built like a proverbial outhouse."
He added: "Everything I read tells me that the jet industry is flat on its face, but times will probably change. I imagine [Superior Aviation] will try to make the company profitable by selling the aircraft they rely on most, which is the King Air."
Having previously owned two Mooney aircraft, Daley co-bought his Bonanza piston, with his friend Alan Burton - who was also present at the event - after a rare opportunity presented itself. "It's a great touring aircraft," he said.
"If you look at what has happened to Jaguar - that was a similar situation, but their buyers [Indian automotive manufacturing company Tatum Motors], have turned it around," Burton added. "As an Englishman I am most concerned, but I have got to go with it, because we live in a free market," he said. "It just has to happen."
Anthony Bowels is another UK owner who bought his Beechcraft Bonanza G36 18 months ago, after trading-in his Cirrus aircraft. Similarly, Bowels did not think that Superior Aviation acquiring Beechcraft would affect his ownership. "I don't need Beechcraft spares, because all of the parts are standard," he said.
Despite his relaxed attitude, Bowels did admit having some reservations about the potential take-over. "I do not know if I relish the prospect," he said. "The Chinese have taken over a number of US companies, including Continental Motors and Cirrus. The reservations I have are that I am not entirely sure the Chinese can do things as well as the Americans or even the British."
Elsewhere at the celebratory fly-in, customer experience manager, Stuart McNeilis, said: "The Chinese proposition is encouraging and we are very excited by it." McNeilis denied that the take-over would have a detrimental effect on the Welsh facility, claiming: "It will be business as usual."
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