Groups Get Ready To Bid On Eclipse Aviation's Assets
The saga of Eclipse Jets just gets weirder and weirder and you'll need a scorecard to keep track of all the companies with the Eclipse name. The first was Eclipse Aviation Corporation which produced the planes but filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Then Luxembourg-based EclipseJet Aviation International (part of ETIRC Aviation) was set to buy the company, and in fact their website says they are "the principal distributor of the Eclipse 500 very light jet in Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, and CIS countries." But that deal fell through and Eclipse entered Chapter 7 liquidation last month which means that the company's assets are set to be liquidated.
Enter a new group, known as Eclipse Jet LLC which as Aero-News Network reports, has joined others hoping to bid on the company's assets. This group contains leaders of the Ad Hoc Customer Committee and Steering Committee including Mike Press a retired USAF colonel who owns an Eclipse 500, and runs a private company to broker Eclipse delivery positions. He is working with other owners and depositors including businessman Mason Holland to try and acquire the assets of Eclipse. The motivation is both to provide support for those who already own planes as well as restarting production of the Eclipse 500, perhaps to complete the seven planes still in various stages of being built inside the plant. Holland and Press have said that they are interesting in reorganizing Eclipse as a sustainable company.
Two other bids for the Eclipse assets have been made public including yet another Eclipse-named group, Eclipse Services and Support LLC, which is a cooperative backed by Linear Air CEO Bill Herp and wants to keep the existing fleet of 259 Eclipse 500 very-light jets in service. Another organization with yet another Eclipse name, New Eclipse Acquisition LLC, is backed by aerospace executive Phil Friedman and also wants to provide support to existing owners and to eventually start producing new aircraft.
While all this is being sorted out, furloughed workers wait for a decision and hope that they will get some money out of the liquidation. Forbes reveals that more than 800 workers have filed a lawsuit seeking back wages and benefits.