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Hawker is latest U.S. aircraft maker to turn to China for help


Hawker Beechcraft’s potential buyout from a Chinese conglomerate is just the lastest example of a growing trend of American aircraft manufacturers getting significant financial help from Chinese firms. Cirrus may have been the first, securing $150 million for its single engine jet program when it agreed to sell itself to a Chinese company last year. In March, Cessna agreed to have some of its turboprop Caravans produced in China, a step seen as opening up China’s largely untapped general aviation market to Cessna’s products. Last week, Hawker announced that, pending government approval and a bankruptcy auction, it would agree to a buyout from a large Chinese company with limited aviation holdings. In all three cases, critics have worried about losing highly skilled aviation manufacturing jobs in the U.S. when the Chinese parent companies decide to move plants to their own shores. But doing so would likely jeopardize FAA production certificates. So for now, those jobs that remain should be safe. Since 2008, Wichita, Kan., a hub for several large aviation companies, has lost 13,000 aviation-related jobs due to the recession.