Eclipse Aviation formally announced its intention to begin production of a $1.35 million single-engine jet called the Eclipse 400. The announcement was made earlier today at the company's annual "E-rrival" event in Albuquerque. At the same time, Eclipse announced it was boosting the price of its twin-engine 500 model by more than $550,000 from $1.595 million to $2.15 million. The announcements came as Eclipse was celebrating the tenth anniversary of the company. In both cases, Eclipse founder and CEO Vern Raburn said they were ideas whose time had come.
Regarding the 400, Raburn said there was overwhelmingly positive response to the single-engine "Concept" jet unveiled at EAA AirVenture last year. The four-place aircraft is claimed by Eclipse to be the "world's most fuel-efficient jet aircraft" and will be powered by a PW615F engine. Deliveries are planned for the end of 2011. Existing Eclipse 500 owners get first crack at one and a $125,000 discount if they order by July 25. It goes on the general market at EAA AirVenture. As for the price increase, Raburn said it costs more to build the Eclipse 500 than they thought it would and they aren't able to build them in the kind of volume they thought they could so they had to increase the price. "Eclipse's cost-driven pricing model requires Eclipse to re-examine aircraft pricing if actual costs change significantly from projections," the company said in a news release.