Exactly one year has passed since Textron closed the $1.4 billion deal to acquire Beechcraft Corp. and formed Textron Aviation, bringing together two iconic companies.

Although more than 80% of the work integrating Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft Corp. is behind it, there’s more to be done, officials say.

The merger brought together the Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker brands and products, its sprawling global aircraft-service network and a combined installed base of more than 250,000 aircraft.

The company is investing in the combined product line.

And “we have our businesses … aligned,” said Dave Rosenberg, Textron Aviation vice president of strategic planning and integration.

The most difficult part of the job was cutting duplicate jobs during the consolidation, Rosenberg said.

A month after the acquisition, the company announced it would cut 750 jobs, including 575 in Kansas.

“The biggest challenge was the people consolidation,” Rosenberg said. “We got that done quickly.”

Now, the plan is to optimize the company’s facilities and grow.

“We’re focused,” Rosenberg said.

One advantage is that both companies have long been located in the same town, which helps with communication among leadership and employees and logistics.

For example, the Beechcraft campus located in Wichita, now referred to as Textron Aviation’s east campus, has some of the largest autoclaves for composite materials in the world inside Plant 3, Rosenberg said.

Those can be used for not only for composite parts on Textron Aviation products, but also potentially for products built by other Textron-owned companies, he said. The facility will be Textron Aviation’s Composite Center of Excellence.

The autoclaves and winding machines were used by the former Hawker Beechcraft and Raytheon Aircraft to build composite Hawker and Premier business jet fuselages, although Textron Aviation officials said they don’t have current plans to build entire Citation fuselages from composite materials.

It’s also moving some equipment from Beechcraft’s Plant 1 to Cessna’s Pawnee facility in southeast Wichita. That will become a Component Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

“We’re taking our time with this,” Rosenberg said.

The flexibility of moving around work and workers to fill a need between Cessna and Beechcraft sites was possible after Machinists union members voted in October to unite the local Cessna and Beechcraft unions and work under one collective bargaining agreement, said Jim Walters, Textron Aviation senior vice president for human resources and communications.

That allows the employees to move from a Beechcraft line to a Cessna one, for example, without having to be terminated from one and rehired by the other, Walters said.

The consolidation, and Beechcraft’s halt of business jet production before the acquisition, leaves it with some extra space. 

“We do have capacity on the Beechcraft campus,” Rosenberg said. That will allow for future growth.”

It’s too soon to say what those capacity options may be, however.

Textron Aviation is also continuing work with suppliers for cost synergies there, Rosenberg said.

Some suppliers do work for both Cessna and Beechcraft. As those contracts expire, they will work on costs. 

In January, Textron Aviation acquired the assets of UTC Aerospace Systems in Wichita, which makes interior furnishings for Citation business jets and King Air turboprop airplanes. The facility is a custom designer and manufactures galleys, vanities, sidewall tables, credenzas, bulkheads, composite panels and window shade assemblies.

“We’re very happy so far,” Rosenberg said.

The purpose of the acquisition was to “control our destiny when it comes to interiors,” Rosenberg said.

The company is implementing initiatives to improve manufacturing to improve quality and on-time delivery, he said.

“We’re taken lessons learned and applied it to them,” Rosenberg said.

In addition, Tru Simulation Plus Training, a Textron-owned company, plans to open a maintenance training facility on Textron Aviation property in Wichita. The site will be inside building C14 in southwest Wichita. Work is underway.

King Air maintenance training will begin later this year, said Brad Thress, Textron Aviation senior vice president of customer service.

Next, it will offer maintenance training for Cessna Citation jets.

The facility will be equipped with Tru Simulation courseware and aircraft maintenance instruction, modern classrooms and a flight line hangar, the company has said.