A price increase caused by rising costs has effectively provided Eclipse Aviation with a reconfirmation of the orderbook for its Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ). Less than 1% of orders – 22 aircraft – were cancelled after a retroactive $95,000 price increase was announced in May, the company says.
The Albuqueque-based company, meanwhile, has flown its fourth of five certification test aircraft – the first of two “beta test” Eclipse 500s. These aircraft will undergo accelerated use testing before customer deliveries begun in March next year.
The increase in price, to $1.3 million for new orders, was caused by the rising cost of aluminium alloys and higher supplier costs triggered by design changes resulting from the switch to Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610 engines, Eclipse says, as well as the replacement of underperforming suppliers.
Customers affected were given the 30 days to cancel their orders and have their deposits refunded. Although it lost 22 orders, Eclipse says it booked at least that number of new orders during that time. This in effect reconfirms the company’s industry-leading VLJ order backlog of more than 2,200 aircraft.
“Platinum” customers for the first 160 aircraft, who put $150,000 deposits down to secure the launch price of $995,000, were not affected by the price increase.
GRAHAM WARWICK/WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International