Depositors Say They Have Legal Stake On Unfinished Planes
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 01.16.08 1430 EST:
Twenty-four depositors whose Eclipse 500 jets were left unfinished
on the production line when the Albuquerque, NM-based company filed
for bankruptcy last year are now in federal bankruptcy court,
pleading that the eventual owners of the assets of Eclipse Aviation
-- presumably, European shareholder ETIRC Aviation, the only
qualified bidder -- should be required to finish their planes,
finish them completely, and at the originally contracted price.
The hearing into the proposed sale of Eclipse to ETIRC began at
2:00 pm EST Friday in Delaware. If approved, the sale would be
conducted under terms of Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code...
defines depositors against undelivered aircraft as
unsecured creditors in the proceedings.
According to documents attained by
Aero-News, those holding deposits on Eclipse 500 serial numbers
261-296 assert they are the legal owners of the aircraft, and not
Eclipse... as they have already paid 10 percent and, in nearly all
cases, 60 percent deposits against the planes. Under terms of the
sale proposed by ETIRC -- and now under consideration by the US
Bankruptcy Court -- those planes would revert to ETIRC's
Production of those aircraft had already started when Eclipse
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 25. The
airframes now sit in varying stages of completion at Eclipse's
Sunport 10 and 11 initial assembly facilities, and the Sunport 2
final assembly center.
Based on ANN's review of the legal documents, Eclipse appears to
be pulling out all the stops to prevent the depositors from
successfully staking a legal claim on those airframes.
Should the Depositors' objection be struck down by the court,
those frames would be ETIRC property, for the company to do with as
it pleased -- including the possibility of reselling the planes at
a higher pricetag. Depositors assert that might be illegal, and
definitely unethical... as their names are, quite literally,
already on the planes (as seen below.)
ANN will provide continuing coverage of developments out
of Delaware. Stay tuned.