General aviation manufacturer Extra Aviation has been forced to delay plans to ramp up production of its EA-500 single engine turboprop following an abortive attempt to raise funding on the London stock exchange, writes Kate Sarsfield.

Walter Extra, company founder and managing director, blames its position on unfortunate timing. He says: "Three days before the initial public offering [IPO] Airbus announced its problems that resulted in [a massive drop in the EADS share price and] a loss of confidence in aerospace companies." Extra adds: "Suddenly aviation companies like ours were not considered to be an attractive investment opportunity, so we decided to withdraw our IPO and will try again next year if the conditions are suitable."

Extra had been hoping to raise enough funds though its listing on the London stock exchange's Alternative Investment Market index to double production capacity for the six-seat all composite EA-500 at its Dusseldorf manufacturing base within 24 months and ramp up production of the EA-300 high-performance aerobatic aircraft from its current rate of four aircraft a month. The company has built up a substantial order book for both types, it says.

"We plan to deliver the first EA-500 to a European customer in the first quarter of 2007, but will only build seven aircraft next year," Extra says. "We don't expect to reach full scale production now [around 50 aircraft] until 2009."

Meanwhile, Extra is pursuing US certification of the EA-500, where around 50% of its customers are based. Approval is expected in the second quarter of next year. Extra says: "We already have European certification, so US approval is a straight forward process."

Source: Flight International