ONE Aviation Corp. in Albuquerque announced a new round of layoffs as the company winds down production of its Eclipse Aviation 550 very light jet to focus on design of the planned EA700 series aircraft.
It’s the second round of layoffs this year, although the company would not discuss the number of employees affected nor many how many remain on the job.
ONE Aviation launched in 2015 as a merger of Wisconsin-based Kestrel Aviation and Eclipse Aerospace in Albuquerque. The latter had previously acquired the assets of the former Eclipse Aviation company after that business went bankrupt in 2009.
ONE Aviation Corp. has continued to make the Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet since the 2015 merger, while also providing services for owners of that aircraft and for the previous series EA500 jet. ONE Aviation also produces the Krestel K350 single-engine turboprop.
Last year, however, the company announced plans to phase out production of the EA550 aircraft to focus instead on designing and building an upgraded EA700 series jet.
“As we transition through the development stages of the highly anticipated EA700 series we made the very difficult, yet necessary, decision to reduce our workforce,” said ONE Aviation CEO Alan Klapmeier in a prepared statement.
The reduction was needed to align the company’s headcount with its new focus, said spokeswoman Linda McDonough.
“The company remains committed to providing service and support for EA500 and EA550 owners as it begins to phase out production of the 550 and transition into the EA700,” McDonough said. “All of our company-owned and company-authorized service centers in the U.S. and elsewhere continue to operate.”
That includes service centers in Albuquerque, Chicago, San Diego and Boca Raton, Fla., as well as affiliated centers in other countries around the world, McDonough said.
Meanwhile, design and testing of the EA700 is moving forward.
The upgraded aircraft will hold more fuel in longer wings that will be extended by two feet on both sides, more cabin volume with a 14-inch fuselage stretch, a modern digital Garmin avionics suite, and more power with Williams International FJ33 engines, according to the company website.
Klapmeier said ONE Aviation successfully completed the first flight of a proof-of-concept wing for the EA700 in September using a modified experimental test aircraft.
“This is a key milestone in the path to making a very good airplane a great airplane,” Klapmeier said.