Hawker reports smaller 3Q loss than last year

Hawker Beechcraft on Monday reported an operating loss of $42.2 million in the third quarter, an improvement from losses of $81.4 million for the same period a year ago.

Sales totaled $518.8 million, down from $594.7 million during the same period last year because of lower aircraft deliveries. The company delivered 38 aircraft in the quarter, compared to 49 deliveries a year ago.

The decline is due to supply disruptions that affected the production of the King Air, Hawker 4000 and piston aircraft, which delayed deliveries, the company said.

The supply disruption for the Hawker 4000 has been resolved and deliveries have resumed in the U.S., the company said. However, it must obtain government approvals from other countries before the Hawker 4000 can be delivered in those areas. King Air and piston aircraft supply disruptions are expected to continue in the fourth quarter, which will mean fewer deliveries than planned.

So far this year, Hawker Beechcraft has delivered 127 planes, compared to 137 through the same period last year.

The company's order backlog totaled $1.3 billion on Sept. 30, compared to $1.4 billion on June 30. Aircraft deliveries during the quarter totaled $519 million, compared to new orders of $526 million and order cancellations of $30 million. About 28 percent of Hawker Beechcraft's order backlog is for deliveries scheduled a year or more away.

"We continue to improve our operating cost structure primarily by the investments we are making to drive costs out of the business," Bill Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "However, we continue to feel the effects of the depressed light-jet market, which is evidenced by fewer deliveries in our business and general aviation segment this quarter."

A lack of confidence in the global economy continues to lead to lower aircraft demand, Boisture said.

Deliveries of the company's trainer and attack aircraft totaled 18 in the third quarter, down slightly from 20 deliveries during the same time a year ago. For the year, Hawker Beechcraft has delivered 60 military planes, up from 58 a year ago. Sales in the segment totaled $133.7 million during the quarter, down $27.4 million from a year ago.

The decline was primarily due to a decrease in spare parts and training system sales, and slower production levels because fewer aircraft were under contract compared to a year ago, the company said.

Operating income in the segment, meanwhile, totaled $12.6 million, down from $20.2 million a year ago.

In September, the company delivered its 100th T-6B military trainer to the U.S. Navy.

The company is ready for production of AT-6 attack aircraft if the Air Force awards the contract to Hawker Beechcraft for Light Air Support programs, it said. The company is vying with Brazil-based Embraer for the contract.

Hawker Beechcraft officials also called last month's National Business Aviation Association annual convention and exhibition a success. The company signed several purchase agreements for Hawker and Beechcraft aircraft during the show in Las Vegas and is heading into the fourth quarter with a "great deal" of momentum, it said.