September 1 Sees Doors Open For New Eclipse

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The former Eclipse went into full-eclipse last November when it entered bankruptcy, and Eclipse Aerospace, which acquired the former manufacturer's assets in a $40 million bankruptcy deal opened for business Tuesday with hopes to employ more than 500 people, restart production and turn out hundreds of jets per year. That may be the ultimate goal, but in the short term the new company hopes to first perform as a service provider for the roughly 260 Eclipse 500 jets currently operating without the support of an existing parts or service infrastructure. That means Eclipse will be hiring staff and re-establishing contact with key suppliers essential to finishing some 30 aircraft now sitting in various stages of completion. The former Eclipse's Albany, N.Y., service center may not be supported by the new company, which may outsource maintenance to third parties. The longer-term goal of production is currently targeted for the first half of 2011.

One industry analyst told The Associated Press that the new company's ability to meet future financing needs may hinge first on its ability to satisfy existing owners -- and the economy. Until then, the company will be again setting its foundation at Eclipse's former facilities in Albuquerque, trying to keep costs down and spirits up.