Hawker 4000 and Premier owners to suffer without aircraft support
Cancellation of SupportPlus could mean financial trouble for owners.
US aircraft brokers have described Hawker Beechcraft’s plans to cancel certain warranties and support programs – including SupportPlus – for the Hawker 4000 and Premier IA as crushing news for owners.
The brokers echoed the concerns of livestock company Biozyme Incorporated, who recently issued an objection to the US bankruptcy court concerning the company’s Premier IA and the pending cancellation of the aircraft’s warranty.
“If you have three years left, this is a big deal,” said Don Dwyer, managing partner of Guardian Jet. “Two years ago I would have told any owner of the airplane to get out of it. If you sell it now, you would have to take an absolute pummelling but maybe that is better than what is coming.”
Dwyer, who previously worked for Hawker Beechcraft as vice president global commercial sales, saw the cancellation of the SupportPlus program as the biggest threat to owners. “Premier owners need to get their aircraft on JSSI [Jet Support Services International programmes] – that way it will sell a lot quicker,” he said. “Unfortunately they do not have that option for the 4000.”
With regards to prospective buyers, Dwyer highlights the Hawker 4000’s residual value and lack of support as the biggest challenges. “Sellers have been looking for $12 million, but now you’re looking at less than $10 million for sure. Maybe the price might be enough to get over those hurdles.”
Mike McCracken, president of Hawkeye Aircraft, agreed that the aircraft’s low-price might be enough to attract “an entrepreneurial-type guy,” in spite of the risks. “It is possible that you could buy one for $7 or $8 million,” said McCracken. “But, I’m just throwing that number out there.”
Hawker Beechcraft has also asked the bankruptcy court to free the company of its obligation to complete an upgrade and enhancement program on the Hawker 4000. Should another company buy the type-certificate for the Hawker 4000, they will take on the responsibility for the aircraft’s continuous air-worthiness, as well as the decision of whether to pursue upgrades.
The risk is that if Hawker cancels the type certificate – which guarantees the availability of spare parts and technical engineering – but fails to find a buyer, the aircraft will fall short of being deemed airworthy and owners will be prohibited from flying.
“I would say – and this is a guess – that somebody will pick up the type certificate for the Hawker 4000,” said McCracken. “If it is a small company – and remember, they don’t have to put the aircraft back into production – values will probably stay quite depressed, but if it is a bigger company, then we might see the market might pick up a bit.”
McCracken also drew attention to the fact that there are currently 15-17 Hawker 4000 jets which have not built to comply with Amendment 25-102, which made it compulsory for aircraft to include a Flammability Reduction System on the fuel tank. “The deadline is March 2014,” said McCracken. “If they do not comply with the amendment by then – and bear in mind that this takes between 90 days and 120 days – they will not be able to fly.”