New Eclipse Lining Up Support
New Eclipse Acquisition LLC moved forward with plans to acquire the assets of defunct Eclipse Aviation over the weekend, holding meetings with various stakeholders in Albuquerque. Phil Friedman, who's spearheading the bid, told AVweb in a podcast interview that he met with key Eclipse employees to try to bring them into the new company and get working on a two-year recovery scheme. He's also busy lining up support among existing aircraft owners, investors and creditors of the old company. He said that by first upgrading existing aircraft the new company can generate cash flow necessary to resume production in 2011. The company is setting production goals, "at modest levels, approximately 100 aircraft per year," and hopes to price the jets at roughly $2.4 million each. Friedman, currently CEO of an aircraft electro mechanical and structural assembly company in Wichita said he intends to take advantage of "an excellent business opportunity if managed correctly." Friedman says he's studied Eclipse for a year and, working for the past several months with former Eclipse CFO, Peter Reed, has developed a business plan that aims to first upgrade and service the existing fleet, driving the jet's value "up to the $2 million range."
New Eclipse would charge current owners to bring their aircraft up to the latest certification level and bring the jet's avionics "to the latest functionality." Failing that, Friedman's company would work with owners to find buyers willing to purchase the jet and pay for the upgrades. Moving on to production, Friedman's plan would focus on "reducing manufacturing costs" and re-establishing the supplier chain. New Eclipse, headed by Friedman, would hope to employ about 400 people as it worked to upgrade and service the existing fleet and then grow to employ 600 people while producing 100 jets per year.
Podcast interview with Phil Friedman