Expanded Partnership Targets Eclipse 500 As The Global Standard
Talk about a BIG deal. On Monday, Albuquerque, NM-based
planemaker Eclipse Aviation announced it will expand its
partnership with European Technology and Investment Research Center
(ETIRC) Aviation. Under terms of the deal, Eclipse can take
advantage of an equity investment by ETIRC in Eclipse that is
"substantially" in excess of $100 million.
Upon completion of its investment, ETIRC will be the single
largest shareholder of Eclipse Aviation. ETIRC CEO Roel Pieper
(below) has been elected non-executive Chairman of Eclipse
ETIRC is currently the exclusive provider of sales, customer
service, maintenance support and flight training for the Eclipse
500 in the countries of Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation, the
Commonwealth of Independent States and the Republic of Turkey. As ANN reported, the company
ordered 180 Eclipse 500s (120 firm orders, 60 options) last May,
most of which are for the Turkish market.
Under the new arrangement, ETIRC will add Western Europe and the
United Kingdom to its distribution and services area. As a result
ETIRC will be the exclusive partner for Eclipse in more than 60
As part of the agreement, ETIRC plans to establish local
assembly of the Eclipse 500 within its expanded region. ETIRC is
reportedly in "advanced stages" of discussions for the location of
the assembly facility. The City of Ulyanovsk in Russia is the
leading candidate at the moment. Further announcements will be made
in the next few months.
Interestingly, ETIRC received financial backing for its
investment in Eclipse from the Russian government... making the
company a truly international concern, though Eclipse CEO Vern
Raburn was quick to assert Eclipse isn't going anywhere.
"This is NOT a move of production, and this is NOT outsourcing,"
Raburn told reporters, adding the company plans to continuing its
expansion in Albuquerque. "In fact, we've hired back many of the
positions that were laid off last year... and we plan to add over
700 more jobs this year."
"Entrusting the expanded region of Europe to ETIRC in this
manner represents a significant acceleration of our business
plan," continued Raburn (below). "Expanding our
relationship with ETIRC will rapidly increase the impact of the
Eclipse 500 in this region and position us to meet the needs of our
growing number of customers outside of North America."
"The Eclipse 500 is by far the best value proposition for jet
ownership anywhere in the world," added Pieper. "We are
pleased to expand our partnership with Eclipse Aviation to further
support the volume growth of this intriguing and innovative
aircraft. We believe that a close cooperation between our companies
will make the Eclipse 500 the global standard for very light
ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l. is a principal driver of the VLJ
industry, creating virtual jet networks for airlines and aviation
entrepreneurs. This will provide business communities with
affordable, on-demand, point-to-point jet travel that drives
productivity. ETIRC Aviation will offer a full range of white-label
VLJ services to virtual jet network and jet taxi operators,
including a real-time operations system, fleet financing, VLJ
leasing, business consultancy, pilots, training programmes and VLJ
maintenance centres. ETIRC Aviation is headquartered in Luxembourg
and has offices in Moscow, Istanbul and Cyprus.