Eclipse Shutdown Predicted

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Forecast International, an aerospace market think tank says Eclipse Aviation will likely cease production early in 2009 because it's unlikely to find the $200 million it needs to keep going. In a news release on Tuesday, analyst Douglas Royce says Eclipse's back is against the wall after a series of setbacks. "We believe that the company will be able to push production out into early 2009 but will be forced to cease production within the first quarter of 2009," Royce said. Forecast International predicts only 12 aircraft will be finished in 2009 and "even this forecast may prove too optimistic," said Royce. Eclipse did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages left early Tuesday evening.

Forecast International says price increases, cancelled orders, an inability to achieve production efficiency all capped by the current economic situation will combine to bring the company to a halt. "Under the circumstances, Forecast International believes that securing new funding, while still possible, is unlikely," said Royce. Forecast International doesn't consider Eclipse's future in Russia as part of the current analysis, however. In September, the company announced the Russian government had approved construction of an assembly plant there and accompanied the news release with photos of former Russian President Vladimir Putin inspecting an Eclipse 500.