AAI Acquisition, the Russian owner of Adam Aircraft, is considering shelving production of the A500 piston twin to focus its efforts on certificating and delivering its A700 twinjet stablemate.

AAI, which sealed court approval on 9 April for its $10 million bid of the bankrupt Adam Aircraft, will begin rehiring staff employed by the Colorado-based start-up.

The Delaware company was formed by Moscow-based Industrial Investors with the sole purpose of acquiring Adam Aircraft, and will keep the name AAI Acquisition "until further notice".

Only the Englewood, Colorado headquarters will reopen, adds AAI's Jan D'Angelo, and most of the former Adam management team, with the exception of the former chief executive John Wolf and president Duncan Koerbel, are welcome to return, he says.

"The manufacturing staff will come in at such point as we need to work backwards from the certification base," says D'Angelo, formerly director of international and fleet sales with Adam Aircraft.

"We'll definitely spend lots of money on certification as well as ramping up for production." The previous goal of late 2008 for certification of the A700 very light jet was "somewhat optimistic", he says, and the new target is 2009. The prototype has 400h of flight tests behind it and needs 800h more.

Adam Aircraft based its VLJ on its A500 piston twin, which may not re-enter production, says AAI. "We'll do a trade study on the A500 and make a decision about when we'll put the aircraft back into production, if, in fact, that's the decision," says D'Angelo. When the factory shut down, there were two A500s close to delivery and three in the course of construction.

The assets in Colorado join $3 billion of holdings, primarily rail and shipping, for Industrial Investors. Their other aviation companies are Velvet Club, a charter airline operating from Moscow and air taxi operator Dexter.

The former Adam Aircraft leaves creditors with more than $50 million in liabilities. The city of Pueblo, Colorado is seeking compensation of up to $2.37 million from founder George Adam after it built a new facility and infrastructure in anticipation of 448 promised jobs. Adam himself is suing former company leaders, including Wolf, who the board hired last year.

Source: FlightGlobal.com