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November 17, 2008updated Feb 11, 2013

Eclipse’s Troubles Continue

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

VLJ manufacturer Eclipse Aviation continues to generate controversy. The Albuquerque, NM-based company confirmed Friday that is was unable to meet payroll obligations that came due on Thursday, Nov. 13, but would fully pay employees no later than the following Tues. In addition, the company denied reports of any layoffs and expected the full workforce on site the following week.

Troubles began last summer as the company, arguably the primary driver of the Very Light Jet phenomenon in private aviation, dismissed 600 workers and ousted founder Vern Raburn in attempts to offset financial woes. Previously, the company enjoyed robust sales through 2007, with as many as 2,500 orders for the Eclipse 500 jet. Delivery backlogs and a controversial temporary FAA grounding and investigation of the jet owing to an emergency landing last summer hobbled operations. An influx of overseas investment, including an agreement with the Russian State Bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) Supervisory Board, chaired by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, that called for the construction of a factory in Russia to assemble jet seemed to renew optimism for the company.

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