Saturday, September 20, 2008

Eclipse Aviation's Biggest Customer Ceases Air Tax Service.

Florida-based DayJet, a private jet service for business travelers, has ceased operation, and the company is placing at least part of the blame directly on Albuquerque's Eclipse Aviation and the global financial crisis.

On Friday, DayJet announced that it has ceased jet services, pending further notice. The company today eliminated most employee positions. Additionally, DayJet said it was unable to honor any customer reservations.

A Dayjet spokesperson said, "the shutdown is a direct consequence of the company’s inability to arrange critical financing in the midst of the current global financial crisis.

The company’s operations have also suffered as a result of Eclipse Aviation’s failure to install missing equipment or functionality or repair agreed technical discrepancies in accordance with the terms of DayJet’s aircraft purchase contract. From a DayJet news release:

We deeply regret the disruption and hardship to customers, suppliers and employees caused by this unexpected shutdown of commercial operations,” said DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci, who has stepped down as DayJet President and CEO, but continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Twelve months ago our team launched a new regional transportation model. During the past year, we have demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, that customers will sign-up, purchase, and become frequent users of this new service – the DayJet ‘Per-Seat, On-Demand’ model works. It is unfortunate that these developments have come at the same time our nation has fallen into the most serious capital crisis of our lifetime. Regrettably, without access to growth capital, we have no choice but to iscontinue operations.
Eclipse Aviation said it is aware that DayJet (tm) Corporation eliminated most of its workforce Friday and ceased commercial air taxi operations. DayJet has taken delivery of 28 Eclipse 500(r)'s from Eclipse Aviation. While DayJet was Eclipse's largest customer, Eclipse's business model and success has never relied solely on DayJet.Eclipse sent The Word this statement:

Eclipse still has hundreds of orders to fill independent of DayJet, and existing customers will be happy and eager to move up in line. Eclipse also anticipates ongoing interest in the United States as well as fulfilling the strong demand for the Eclipse 500 in the global markets. DayJet is accredited with starting the air taxi revolution with its affordable "Per-Seat, On-Demand" jet service. While DayJet was able to fulfill the demonstrated growing demand for this new market, the company was unfortunately unable to raise the capital it required to continue its operations in the current environment.
In August, Eclipse Aviation was forced to layoff more than one-third of its work force, less than a month after the ouster of the company's chief executive (more).

The 650 layoffs, or roughly 38 percent of the work force, come as the Federal Aviation Administration conducts an unusual 30-day review of the company's Eclipse 500 very light jet airplane.

In July, a management shake-up saw the ouster of founder and former chief executive officer Vern Raburn, who has since left the company.

Last week, the Associated Press reported on congressional hearings reviewing Federal Aviation officials who may have approved a the small jet despite problems with the plane's design and production, overruling safety concerns voiced by government engineers, inspectors and test pilots.

On September 3rd, Governor Bill Richardson traveled to Washington for a meeting with Congressman Jim Oberstar, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, regarding Eclipse Aviation. Before the meeting the governor said:
We will emphasize the State of New Mexico's commitment to Eclipse Aviation and highlight the pivotal role that Eclipse has played in our efforts to create high-wage jobs. As a former Congressman, I know how important it is to hear directly from communities that benefit from the presence of companies like Eclipse.
KOAT reported on the Governor's trip here. Eclipse Aviation Critic NG A blog has long billed itself as a "place for people who were concerned about Eclipse Aviation to share their views." And, Aviation Week and AV Web are two aviation industry news sites also covering developments and news about Eclipse.

No comments: