Eclipse Aviation says it has nailed the financing to build a second major production plant in Russia in a major step toward luring more European buyers of its very light jet. Russia´s Bank for Development and Foreign Affairs, also known as Vnesheconombank, has committed $ 205 million to build the plant in Ulyanovsk. Russian leader Vladmir Putin made the announcement at a recent meeting of the bank´s supervisory board.
"We´re in a very strong position to move forward," said Eclipse CEO Roel Pieper. "It´s clear the bank has endorsed it. We´re in a ´go mode´ with that whole project."
Reaffirming the company´s commitment to Albuquerque, Pieper said the second plant could open in late 2009 but more likely in early 2010, clearing the way for filling more orders of the Eclipse 500 jet.
Pieper said Eclipse is "relatively confident" about getting approval of the 500 jet in October from the Cologne-based European Aviation Safety Agency, which is the counterpart to the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States. EASA will basically certify the 500 jet is safe to fly in Europe.
"We have 300 orders sitting and waiting for EASA approval," Pieper said, adding that another 2,000 orders can be expected in Europe and Russia once the approval becomes official.