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  • MEBA: Eclipse on the rebound at MEBA

MEBA: Eclipse on the rebound at MEBA

Two years ago, Alptekin came to the show as chief executive of Myjet Aviation, an air taxi start-up planning to use a potentially huge fleet of Eclipse 500 very light jets to span Europe from Albania to Kazakhstan.

The problem was that Eclipse Aviation had just gone bankrupt, and a business plan that required 120 copies of a very economical and efficient aircraft fizzled out.

Alptekin remained positive. "We knew someone would buy it," he says of the company.

That someone, in part, turned out to be Alptekin, who is now one of a group of Eclipse 500 owners that have the majority share in the company now called Eclipse Aerospace. Along with being executive vice-president of Eclipse proper, he is also chairman of Eclipse's European arm, Turkey-based EA Aerospace.

Now that Eclipse is getting back on its feet, with upgrades ongoing and parts flowing again to the 260 aircraft in the world fleet, 36 of which are in the European theatre, Alptekin is hitting the airways drumming up interest in the revived time machine.

Again, he is positive. An equity investment by Sikorsky, announced at the NBAA in October, is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and interest at regional events such as MEBA is high. Alptekin and his employees have been giving demonstration rides here.

Perhaps the larger issue in the region is changing the mindset about what exactly is business aviation. "The question we get is 'Is this the right region for small aircraft like this?'," Alptekin says. "Jet aviation is associated with luxury here, but this is a corporate aircraft. It gets you from A to B efficiently."

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