Officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have ordered One Aviation and partner company Eclipse Aerospace to reimburse the city for more than $895,000 in back rent and prior default obligations by Tuesday (May 8) or vacate all company-leased properties at the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ).
"The city has been very patient with Eclipse in the hopes of maintaining a positive relationship to enable Eclipse to meet its contractual obligations," reads the April 26 Notice to Surrender Property or Cure Default, sent by the Albuquerque city attorney's office. "However, the city has been approached by other companies to lease the premises being occupied by Eclipse."
“We’re working with the city” to resolve the matter, Kevin Gould, One Aviation COO, told AIN. Gould declined to provide further details.
Albuquerque has been home to the very light jet manufacturer since the original company, Eclipse Aviation, moved to the city in 2000. That company’s assets were purchased out of bankruptcy in 2009 by Eclipse Aerospace, which in turn merged with Kestrel Aircraft to form One Aviation in March 2015.
Currently, One Aviation's presence at ABQ includes the Sunport 2 primary assembly building and Sunport 3 final assembly and paint facilities, and a separate hangar once used for initial production. The company vacated a fourth property, its former headquarters, late last year; the Albuquerque Journal reports another local aviation concern is now working with the city to take over that building.
Should the parties fail to reach an agreement for Eclipse to remain at ABQ, the notice also requires One Aviation to surrender one of the original Eclipse 500 prototypes, identified as N503EA, "under the Aircraft Security Agreement which secures performance of Eclipse's obligations to the city." That experimental aircraft was reregistered last year as N990NE and currently serves as a flying testbed for the new wing intended for a larger Eclipse 700 follow-on aircraft under development.
This latest development comes as Kestrel Aircraft faces legal action by the state of Wisconsin to recover an estimated $3.6 million in combined delinquent state, county, and local loan payments made to the company since 2012. Last month, One Aviation entered into a voluntary agreement with officials at Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) to vacate its company-owned Eclipse maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility on the field.
The company subsequently earned approval for an operator’s agreement with the City of Aurora, Illinois, to relocate those facilities to a hangar at Aurora Municipal Airport (ARR). “It’s my understanding the company intends to start operations [at ARR] by May 14,” Aurora interim airport manager Steve Andras told AIN.