Eclipse Denies Report Of Russian Plan(e)s

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Eclipse Aviation is strongly denying a report in at least two Russian publications that it intends to build airplanes there. The stories, one in the Izvestia Daily and one in MosNews quoting the Izvestia report (our Russian's a little rusty and we couldn't find an English version of Izvestia), claim to quote the president of Aviastar, which makes Tupolev airliners, as saying that the plant will be up and running as early as next year. "We will be able to re-equip the plant in six months," Aviastar's Victor Mikhailov is quoted as saying. Despite the matter-of-fact nature of the stories and the widespread use of attributed quotes, Eclipse claims there's not a shred of truth to the reports. "This story is completely false," Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom told AVweb. "Eclipse Aviation is not and never has been in any discussions or negotiations with anyone relating to Eclipse 500 final assembly or producing sub-assemblies for the Eclipse 500 in Russia." According to Izvestia, Eclipse is ready to spend $80 million on the Tupolev plant and already has orders for 100 aircraft in Russia. Broom says Eclipse is mystified about the source of the detailed reports. "We do not know how this story was generated, as we have never talked to or been contacted by the publication," Broom said. "While we are working to determine this, I hope this clears up any confusion that this erroneous article may spark." Broom said the company intends to build the airplane at its plant in Albuquerque, N.M.