Albuquerque television station KOB is reporting that Eclipse Aviation failed to meet its payroll for the first two weeks of this month and that at least some employees have “emptied their desks and left.” Eclipse public relations manager Alana McCarraher did not immediately respond to two voicemails and an email request for comment from AVweb. The station quotes unnamed Eclipse employees as saying the workers were called to a meeting early this morning and told they would not be receiving paychecks for the previous two weeks. It said employees “expressed anger, frustration and uncertainty before speeding out of the facility’s parking lot.” Today’s events would appear to be the culmination of a what has amounted to a media death watch over the company in the past two weeks.
It was widely reported that Eclipse abruptly cancelled its appearance AOPA Expo last week and there has been speculation on the various blogs that monitor the company that the end was near. The company has publicly stated that it needs $200 to $300 million in capital to continue operating and that it was hopeful the money would be in place before the end of the year. There has been no announcement so far on the company’s immediate plans.
Meanwhile, Cessna followed through on earlier warnings about layoffs at its manufacturing operations. Spokesman Doug Oliver said in a release on Wednesday that a total of 665 jobs will be lost at its Wichita and Bend, Oregon plants. The Independence, Kan. plant, which makes piston aircraft and the Mustang very light jet, is unaffected. About a third of the workforce in Bend is being laid off with 165 of 460 employees, who make the Cessna 350 and 400 high performance piston singles, getting notice. Five hundred people lost their jobs at the main Wichita plant, which employs about 12,000 people. Most of the layoffs take effect in January.