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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beechcraft Wins $1.4 Billion King Air Order

By Woodrow Bellamy III

Wichita Kan.-based airframe manufacturer Beechcraft Corp. on Thursday announced it has received a $1.4 billion order for 105 King Air 350i aircraft, a deal confirmed by an industry source to be the largest propeller aircraft order by value in general aviation (GA) history.

(King Air 350i. Photo, courtesy of Beechcraft.)

The order comes from Wheels Up, a new private aviation membership company established by MarquisJet founder Kenny Dichter. According to Beechcraft, the aircraft order itself is valued at $788 million, and Wheels Up has also named it as the maintenance provider for its divisions in North America and Western Europe, pushing the value to $1.4 billion.

Wheels Up will receive a variant of the King Air 350i equipped with upgraded interiors and Wi-Fi connectivity. Beechcraft's Wilmington, Del.-based hub will provide maintenance for the airframes, avionics and propellers.

(King Air 350i avionics. Photo, courtesy of Beechcraft.)

Beechcraft Corp., formerly known as Hawker Beechcraft, emerged from bankruptcy protection in February and recently announced a profitable first six months of the year, delivering 115 airplanes compared to 69 during the same period in 2012.


Related: Aviation Today's Checklist

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