WASHINGTON — The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation released the following statement today on Hawker Beechcraft's decision to keep one of its three pension plans.
"Bankruptcy forces tough choices, but termination of pension plans doesn't have to be an automatic option," said J. Jioni Palmer, Senior Advisor and Director of Communications and Public Affairs. "When Hawker Beechcraft first entered Chapter 11 the company intended to end all three of its pension plans. We immediately engaged Hawker's leadership to convince them that one or more of their plans were affordable.
"After our talks with Hawker, the company decided to keep its hourly plan. While PBGC is the nation's pension safety net, we only want to step in as a last resort.
"Hawker is expected to seek termination of its two remaining plans in bankruptcy court. Both are 49 percent funded and collectively have more than 9,500 participants. We're ready to pay retirement benefits up to the legal limit of about $56,000 a year for a 65-year-old. When this process started three pension plans could have been shut down, so this is a much better outcome."
PBGC protects the pension benefits of more than 40 million Americans in private-sector pension plans. The agency is directly responsible for paying the benefits of more than 1.5 million people in failed pension plans. PBGC receives no taxpayer dollars and never has. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums and with assets and recoveries from failed plans. For more information, visit PBGC.gov.