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Thu, Oct 05, 2006

Eclipse Aviation Sued By Swiss Customer

Says VLJ Maker Delayed, Then Cancelled Order

Despite great news from Eclipse Aviation in the past few days... there are a few flies in the ointment at the Albuquerque, NM-based planemaker. Aviace Limited -- a Swiss start-up jet charter company, and what would have been one of Eclipse's first big customers -- is suing the company, after it says Eclipse first delayed, then cancelled, a 112-plane order supposedly made four years ago.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that in a lawsuit filed last week in US District Court, Aviace alleges it was to take jet number 31 off the line as its first jet in 2004. When Aviace made the order in May 2002, Eclipse required a $2.010 million deposit -- which Aviace says it paid in January 2005 -- and that the company agreed to pay a guaranteed price of $1.045 million per plane.

That's supposedly some $500,000 less than today's price -- and the timeframe was shifted six months after the deal was struck, after Eclipse's switch from Williams powerplants to the Pratt & Whitney Canada turbofans used today. But Aviace says Eclipse breached the agreement by bumping its first delivery even further, to aircraft number 47.

Aviace says Eclipse then asked for a further $634,305 production deposit -- which, Aviace claims wasn't part of its original agreement with Eclipse. The suit alleges Eclipse canceled the order last week, after Aviace refused to pay the additional charge -- and that Eclipse kept $167,500 of money already paid as damages.

Aviace alleges the situation is all about money -- that Eclipse deliberately cancelled the order, so it could sell the same planes to another customer at greater profit.

"Eclipse desires to terminate the purchase agreement so as to retain the aircraft under contract for sale to Aviace for Eclipse to resell for a profit greater than that to be obtained under the purchase agreement," Aviace claims.

The Journal reports the Albuquerque-based attorney representing Aviace declined to comment on the matter. Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom told Aero-News the company could not comment on pending litigation.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Christina Armijo denied a request by Aviace for a temporary restraining order, according to the AP.

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com, www.nmcourt.fed.us/web/DCDOCS/dcindex.html

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