Eclipse Plan Approved, Factory Doors Still Open

 - December 2, 2008, 10:58 AM

Just one day after filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy last Tuesday, a group of investors, including European distributor Etirc Aviation, received court approval to provide interim financing to keep the very light jet manufacturer open and its 954 employees working. The financing is intended to ensure Eclipse Aviation is a viable entity when its assets go up for public auction next month. Etirc Aviation chairman Roel Pieper, also chairman of Eclipse, believes his group is well positioned to purchase Eclipse Aviation and he doesn’t expect any of the major manufacturers to bid. The bankruptcy option was unavoidable, he said. “We came to the conclusion that the belief in the product is there, the market opportunity is there, but the financial burden…was just too much.” Amid efforts to secure more funds, he said, “The market just crashed right in front of us.” Although the bankruptcy filing negates existing contracts with deposit-holders, refund requestors, suppliers and current customers under warranty, Pieper said Eclipse must work with all stakeholders. “We will clearly honor and be fair to the customers in the best way possible,” he said, “and we’re going to be very fair to the suppliers. We have to find a way to go forward together.”