Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eclipse Aviation Workers Won't Be Paid On-Time.

Update - 12 noon

Several businesses are offering Eclipse employees food discounts today.
Kelly's on Central (505-262-2739) is giving everyone with an Eclipse badge 50% off food today.

Coaches on Central (505-242-7111) is giving everyone with an Eclipse badge 20% off food only.
Workers at Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque had a meeting at 6:30, and again at 8:30am, this morning where they were told they would not be paid for the past two weeks of work. 770KKOB has learned Eclipse officials told workers to call an 800 number later today to find out whether they even had jobs.

We asked a person getting in their car to leave if they were an employee and the response was, "Not anymore."

Even though employees were told they could work the rest of the day, several workers were seen speeding out of the parking lot this morning. We saw other employees loading plants and personal items in their cars.

There has been no word from officials at Eclipse this morning, but one employee called us and said executives told employees, inside the production hangar, that the company was looking for a bridge loan and were actively looking for additional funding for international investors. Our source said that they believe the company will face bankruptcy by the end of next week if the equity financing can't be lined up.

Late last month, a Connecticut-based market research firm predicted that Eclipse would soon fall victim to global financial turmoil and cease production of its very light jet.

Officials had no comment on the report from Forecast International Inc. in late October, but had said publicly the Albuquerque-based company needed $200 million to $300 million in new equity investment to restructure its operations and reach profitability.

Just this week, four Eclipse customers filed lawsuits in federal court against the aircraft manufacturer, accusing it of failing to refund deposits after it raised the price of its very light jet in June.

The plaintiffs — three companies and a California man — each are seeking refunds ranging from $152,000 to $182,000 paid as deposits after they ordered their Eclipse 500s.

Eclipse spokeswoman Alana McCarraher said Tuesday she could not comment on pending litigation.

In September we reported Day Jet, Eclipse's largest customer, was ending their operations and blaming their closure on Eclipse. Read our earlier report here.

And in early August we reported on congressional hearings investigating the company's FAA approval process. Read details here.

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