Aviation

Raytheon Credit expects 20 Beechcrafts back from Mesa

Raytheon Aircraft Credit Corp. president Mike Scheidt is taking Mesa Air Group's bankruptcy in stride.

Scheidt expects to get back 20 Wichita-built Beechcraft 1900D airliners owned by Mesa in the airline's bankruptcy proceedings.

Mesa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

The Wichita-based Raytheon Aircraft Credit Corp. holds the loans on the 1900s.

"I'm expecting to have them come back," Scheidt said.

If that's the case, Raytheon Airline Aviation Services, owned by the credit company, would market the aircraft.

"Ideally, I'd like to have none," Scheidt said. But "if you run around 15 or 20 airplanes that you have for sale, it's not the end of the world."

Mesa's outstanding principal balance on the planes totals about $33.6 million, according to the bankruptcy filing.

"The debtors intend to abandon these aircraft upon authorization from the Court," the filing said.

The planes, twin-engine turboprops, are part of Mesa Air Group's fleet of 178 aircraft.

The airline has parked the 1900s, and considers them "excess," the filing said. They're being stored at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport and at the Salina airport.

Mesa called the aircraft "burdensome," the filing said.

Even though they're not in use, Mesa still incurs significant costs on them through monthly leases, insurance and storage costs, it said.

Raytheon Aircraft, now Hawker Beechcraft Corp., stopped production of the 1900s in 2002. The model, developed from a Beechcraft Super King Air, began production in 1982. A total of 695 of them were built.

Raytheon Aircraft Credit Corp. was not included in the sale when Raytheon Co. sold Wichita-based Raytheon Aircraft to Onex Corp. and GS Capital Partners in late 2006.

The asset management organization manages the remaining loans that were extended during the time it was part of Raytheon Aircraft.

It's not making any new loans, Scheidt said.

"Raytheon is exiting that portion of the business," he said.

The company still manages loans on more than 100 aircraft.

When it comes to the 1900Ds, Scheidt said, "We will get those airplanes re-placed. That's what we do."

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