A Delaware bankruptcy judge approved – at least verbally – a motion to convert Eclipse Aviation‘s bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, during a March 5 hearing. His approval, if written and signed, means the company’s assets probably will be auctioned.
Phil Friedman, CEO of Wichita-based Harlow Aerostructures, already has formed New Eclipse Acquisition to bid on the assets and, if successful, work with suppliers to provide maintenance and upgrades to avionics and other items. By 2011, Friedman said, he hopes to put the Eclipse 500 back into production at a price of about $2.4 million.
Another likely bidder, The Ad Hoc Committee of Eclipse Customers, also may form a group to bid on the assets, with goals similar to Friedman’s. The priority, according to spokesman and Eclipse owner Randall Sanada, who also is chairman of California-based Jet-Alliance, is to support existing Eclipses. Future production is a probability, he said, at a price around $2 million. That price, he said, would be competitive. However, “This economy is no time to get serious about getting back into production,” Sanada stated. His group is considering creating either a nonprofit co-op of Eclipse owners or a for-profit company.
A week earlier, Eclipse-equipped charter company Linear Air formed Eclipse Services and Support as a non-profit co-op to bid on Eclipse assets.