Taiwanese Lawmaker: Sell Sino Swearingen

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Lin Yu-fang of Taiwan's Nationalist Party this week has demanded that his government sell its majority share of Sino Swearingen Aircraft. The San Antonio-based aircraft manufacturer received FAA certification for its SJ30 twinjet in November 2005, some nine years after the Taiwanese government acquired a stake in the company. However, Sino Swearingen has experienced numerous production problems and to date has delivered only one airplane. Yu-fang maintains that investing in the company was a big mistake, but the irony is that Taiwanese officials' influence in placing homegrown executives with little or no aviation experience at Sino's helm actually caused many problems at the airframer, according to sources. So far, Sino Swearingen has failed to raise additional money and the Taiwan legislature is unlikely to approve further funding. Last month the company laid off some workers and had a management shakeup, though the top post was again filled by another former Taiwanese government official with no previous aviation manufacturing experience. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., who was instrumental in getting the Taiwanese government to invest in the company, in a guest column in The Journal of Martinsburg wrote, "There are lots of good reasons to still believe in Sino. With more than 300 orders pending worth more than $2 billion, the company is developing a new business plan to get to full production." Rockefeller also said the company is "being pursued by several multinational investor groups." Meanwhile, Edward Swearingen -- the man behind the SJ30 design -- in February filed a trademark for "Edward J. Swearingen Aircraft Company," fueling speculation that he might take a more active role in the company after the Taiwanese cash out.