Beechcraft secures huge King Air order

Artist impression of the new Beechcraft King Air 350i (Image © Beechcraft)
Artist impression of the new Beechcraft King Air 350i (Image © Beechcraft)

One of the most popular private and business double propeller engine aircraft in the world is getting even more popular. The Beechcraft Corporation announced it has secured an order for up to a total of 105 King Air 350i aircraft, valued at $788 million, from Wheels Up.

The deal is the largest general aviation propeller driven aircraft order in history. Wheels Up is a membership-based private aviation program that eliminates fixed costs and provides flexibility. It was established by Kenny Dichter and the team that founded Marquis Jet. Beechcraft has been named the aircraft and comprehensive maintenance provider for Wheels Up in North America and Western Europe, with the entire value of the deal totaling up to $1.4 billion.

The first 35 Beechcraft King Airs will be delivered to Wheels Up between now and mid-2015 with the first nine deliveries to be made in 2013. Wheels Up will initially focus on the Northeastern United States. The deal includes options for 70 additional aircraft as Wheels Up expands nationally over the next two to three years.

The Wheels Up King Air 350i aircraft will have several special enhancements for Wheels Up members including special interiors, Wi-Fi connectivity and a luxury lavatory vanity.

The Wheels Up deal also includes a comprehensive maintenance program from Beechcraft valued at more than $600 million. This includes service for airframe, engines, avionics and propellers; scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, labor, parts and consumables. From its Hawker Beechcraft Services Wilmington hub in Delaware.

Since production of the King Air family began in 1972 more than 7,000 King Airs have been sold to customers in 105 countries. The Beechcraft company recently evaded bankruptcy, so this deal is likely to be very much welcomed by all King Air fans and the people in Wichita, Kansas, where the factory plant is.

Source: Beechcraft