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Deliveries of Hawker 4000 to start soon
Deliveries of Hawker 4000 to start soon

Hawker Beechcraft is close to delivering its long-awaited super- midsize Hawker 4000 business jet and resuming shipments of military trainers, company officials said.

Hawker Beechcraft, formed last March, also reported Wednesday that it had operating income of $ 148.3 million on sales of $ 2.8 billion for the last nine months of 2007. The company delivered 351 general aviation aircraft during the last three quarters of 2007.

Hawker Beechcraft was formed when Raytheon Co. sold its Wichita aircraft division, Raytheon Aircraft Co., to Onex Partners and GS Capital Partners for about $ 3.3 billion.

The 8-to-12 passenger Hawker 4000 is close to finishing up the final tests for Federal Aviation Administration approval, which will allow deliveries to begin, Hawker Beechcraft chief executive Jim Schuster said.

The company had expected to deliver 11 of the jets in 2006 and 16 in 2007. Late last year, officials had hoped to deliver the first plane by the end of the year.

"We are very, very, very close," Schuster said. "We´re feeling very good about it."

The company is trying to "get closure on some very small technical issues that are necessary to the F&R (function and reliability) testing -- the final fly-off before certification," Schuster said.

There are 14 Hawker 4000s registered to Hawker Beechcraft with the FAA, according to the FAA´s Web site. The plane´s production line is full, Schuster said.

The composite Hawker 4000, first named the Hawker Horizon, was announced at the 1996 National Business Aviation Association´s annual convention. It made its official debut at the 2005 NBAA convention.

Meanwhile, Hawker Beechcraft officials said the company will resume delivery of its T-6A military trainers later this month. Shipments to the U.S. Air Force and Navy were suspended in July because of issues relating to the aircraft´s wing spars.

Shipments were discontinued after the supplier for the spars made an unapproved process change. The wing spar is the main structure in the wing that provides its strength.

"The testing validated that all the parts produced prior to this and all the parts produced since are fine," Schuster said.

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