This just in from Business Aviation Weekly: AvCraft has secured financing to restart 328JET production. Good news for FD
staff in Oberpfaffenhoffen.
HEADLINE: AVCRAFT REFINANCES TO
MOVE AHEAD WITH 328JET PROGRAM
AVCRAFT REFINANCES TO
MOVE AHEAD WITH 328JET PROGRAM - AvCraft Aviation secured refinancing with Maple Commercial Finance Group to fund the restart of the 328JET production and continue the rejuvenation of the program.
Speaking at the company's first appearance at the National Business Aviation Association Convention in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month, AvCraft President Ben Bartel said that refinancing was a critical objective for the company that has been working to bring back the Dornier 328JET since early this year when AvCraft purchased the program out of bankruptcy (BA, Feb. 10/61). Maple specializes in asset-backed financing packages for non-U.S. assets. The partnership between AvCraft and Maple may extend to additional financing opportunities with certain AvCraft vendors and prospective buyers of the 328, Maple said.
AvCraft finished up the acquisition last month, finally getting the rights to the Dornier name, type and production certificates and the Dornier 428 after a "very difficult course," according to Bartel. The whole acquisition process took about 10 months from start to finish. AvCraft now is devoting its attention to restarting production at its facility in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany and addressing maintenance and parts support issues to build credibility for the aircraft.
Bartel said 75 percent of the 18 whitetails that AvCraft acquired in the bankruptcy transaction were sold with the expectation that the remaining aircraft would be sold during the NBAA convention. AvCraft delivered the first of those 18 to Hainan Airlines of China on Aug. 18. The delivery was part of an eight-aircraft order from the airline, which already operates 19 Dornier 328JETS.
AvCraft still has five airplanes on the assembly line that are between 20 and 80 percent complete. The company is working out a deal with Pratt & Whitney Canada for loaner engines on those aircraft while waiting for new PW306B powerplants. Pratt & Whitney has said that it needs about a year's lead time to provide new engines. With new funding in place, AvCraft is targeting a restart of production by the end of this year with first delivery of aircraft manufactured under AvCraft in the second quarter of 2004.
On the sales end, AvCraft has 45 orders and options for the 328, of which about 85 percent are airline customers and 15 percent non-airline. The company hopes to get a certain number of those options converted to firm orders by the end of November.
Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.