The Hawker 200 has become another business aircraft casualty at the hands of the crippling and protracted global economic crisis following Hawker Beechcraft's decision today to "slow development " of the light business jet - formerly dubbed the Premier II.
The move comes one year after the airframer suspended production of the 200's larger stablemate the Hawker 400XP due to poor sales of the light cabin jet.
In a letter sent to employees today, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and chief executive Bill Boisture said: "Given the fragile, global economic situation and its impact on the current and forecasted light jet segment, we have determined that the prudent management decision is to slow the pace of the completion of the Hawker 200 certification programme until indicators reflect a healthier light jet market."
Boisture admitted the industry is facing "one of the most challenging markets in its history" and the timing of a recovery remains uncertain.
He was keen to stress however the programme remains important to the company's future and development has reached "a natural pause point". He said: "Development testing is nearly complete, the transition to certification flight testing has begun, and we are well positioned to continue from this point when the time is right."
Hawker Beechcraft is "taking this opportunity to verify the value proposition of the aircraft in light of additional new technology that may be applicable to this already dominating platform. This could result in a benefit to current order holders, as well as future buyers," said Boisture.
On a sanguine note, Boisture noted other market segments are showing stability.
"As a result of those indicators, we are increasing our turboprop and jet aircraft production rates to meet market demand for 2012," Boisture said.