MEBAA Convention News

Emivest Aerospace has lofty plans for SJ30 light business jet program

 - November 16, 2008, 12:32 AM

Dubai-based Emivest (Emirates Investment and Development Co.) became the majority (80 percent) shareholder of former Sino Swearingen Aircraft in June when it agreed to pump a minimum of $150 million into the San Antonio, Texas-based aircraft manufacturer to restart and accelerate production of the $7.5 million SJ30 light jet. Last month at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Florida, it renamed the company Emivest Aerospace.

Other than this sizable influx of funds, the strong backing of its new investor, a new company name and a new management team, nothing else has changed–at least not yet. The new owner intends “to infuse new energy into the company” and bring the Williams-Rolls FJ44-2-powered SJ30 into large-scale production. According to acting CEO Anthony Power, the new management team is still evaluating options regarding the operation. So far, two SJ30s have been delivered since the twinjet obtained FAA certification in October 2005.

The other 20 percent of Emivest Aerospace is held by a number of shareholders, including Taiwanese investors, company founder Ed Swearingen and Doug Jaffe, one of the original investors and owner of the first delivered customer aircraft. At the NBAA convention last month, Swearingen said, “Emivest shares the same vision for the SJ30 as I do. This company has the opportunity to become very important.”

Sino Swearingen once claimed to hold orders for about 300 SJ30s, and Power maintained that most of the aircraft’s buyers have stuck with the company, with orders for some 200 aircraft still on the books, of which 159 are through Emivest’s largest distributor, Action Aviation. En route to the MEBA show, the SJ30 set an official National Aeronautic Association record for a flight by an aircraft in the sub-20,000-pound weight category between London and Dubai. The jet was captained by Action Aviation chairman Hamish Harding.