Eclipse thrown another lifeline
The first of the true VLJ air taxi aircraft - The Eclipse 500 - has been thrown a lifeline with the formation of yet another company to acquire and operate the assets of the failed business jet programme
Mike Press and Mason Holland announced the formation of Eclipse Jet LLC (Eclipse Jet) with partners Roel Pieper, Raul Segredo and John Cracken to acquire and operate the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation (Eclipse) for the benefit of existing and future customers. "Eclipse Jet will focus on building a healthy, viable platform for the Eclipse 500 business, including service, support, training and production for a global market" they said.
"When Mason and I set out to form Eclipse Jet," said Mr. Press, "we wanted to recruit as our partners a group of Eclipse owners and depositors who were both representative of and sensitive to the interests of all Eclipse owners and depositors and expert in either private-equity acquisitions or the operation of aircraft or aircraft-component OEMs. We set out to form an enduring company with sustainable competitive advantages, and wanted each of our partners to be positioned to help us capture the assets of Eclipse and then transition our company into a top-notch aircraft OEM maximising the potential of the Eclipse 500."
Mr. Pieper is the former CEO of Tandem Computer, and a former Board member with Compaq and Dutch electronics-giant, Philips Electronics. He took over as CEO of Eclipse in July of 2008 and due to the worldwide economic crisis at the end of 2008, he was unable to fund his plan to turn around the company. Press said: "For the last year, he's been in the midst of Eclipse's diligence in connection with reducing its production costs and expanding the market for the Eclipse 500 throughout Europe. He understands from actual experience all of the issues we have been modeling. Our go-forward plan is now better informed regarding how to deliver the Eclipse 500 to a worldwide audience and avoid the pitfalls Eclipse learned through its past experiences."