Canadian Manufacturing

Another Kansas plane maker seeks bankruptcy protection

Analysts say massive debt load, not sluggish market, drove plane maker to chapter eleven



WICHITA, Kan.— Economic turbulence has shrunk the market for business jets and is causing an especially bumpy ride for Hawker Beechcraft.

The Wichita, Kan.-based aircraft maker filed for bankruptcy protection this week, seeking approval for a plan that would write an estimated $2.5 billion in debt off its books.

It’s the latest piece of bad news for Wichita’s economy, which has been an aviation hotspot since the 1920s. But it carries a special significance for Hawker Beechcraft, which has not only suffered as the aviation market soured but has done so with a large amount of debt.

Sales of small and midsize business jets have fallen by more than 50 per cent in recent years.

Wichita has six plane makers—Boeing Integrated Defense; Bombardier; Cessna, Spirit Aerosystems and Hawker—and Kansas has lost more than 13,000 aviation jobs since 2008.

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