Sino Swearingen In Need Of Investors

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SSAC VP Marketing & Sales, Mark Fairchild told AVweb yesterday that "Taiwan continues to support our program and at the same time is looking for additional investors ... to help increase our production rate and move the company to where we need to go to become the company we want to be." He added that SSAC is "in continued talks with potential qualified investors and with Sen. Rockefeller who has been an ardent supporter of the program from the beginning." Fairchild's comments came the same day that The China Post reported that the Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation (SSAC) has "lost" $610 million since its founding in 1995 and Taiwan may shut down the San Antonio based company if a new bid to find investors falls short. The report says prior attempts to acquire new investors (in October 2006 and May 2007) failed, and that Taiwan's parliament has now barred the Taiwan government from financing the company. Fairchild says the reported "loss" of $610 million was rather an investment in "the first new aircraft company since Learjet to design, build, certify, and deliver a brand new jet design in 40 years." SSAC earned certification of its $5.5 million 7-seat, twin-engine SJ30-2 in October, 2005.

The company was created with the backing of the Taiwan government and U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, SSAC originally intended to begin mass-production in October of 2006, with a goal to "break even" in 2007, according to the report. The company's first aircraft has been flying with its operator since February and is "averaging nearly 50 hours per month." That aircraft has so far logged nearly 250 flight hours, including four Atlantic crossings, according to Fairchild. A second aircraft "is in final completion," says Fairchild, and the company plans to deliver that aircraft "soon." Beyond that, SSAC currently has "4 other aircraft in final completion in our San Antonio facility and fuselage/wings assemblies in work in our manufacturing site in Martinsburg, WV." Headquartered in San Antonio, with manufacturing facilities in West Virginia, SSAC is a joint venture between Swearingen Aircraft Corporation and Taiwan's Sino Aerospace Investment Corporation, which holds close to a 90 percent stake.