The Chinese could soon be owners of another U.S. aviation entity – specifically the SJ30 business jet program. Sources tell AWIN that serious negotiations are under way to acquire the SJ30, now stalled by Emivest’s bankruptcy, and that the deal could close this year.
Even though the program was begun by Ed Swearingen in the mid-1980s, and the aircraft received its FAA certification in 2005, it has been bedeviled throughout by development, funding and production delays. Only four SJ30s have been delivered to date.
The current owners, a Dubai-based investment group, took control in 2008 promising to fully capitalize the program, but the light jet market collapsed shortly thereafter, and Emivest filed for bankruptcy protection last October. A contingent from AVIC evaluated the program in 2005, but then departed, committing to nothing.
Now, people close to the program report the Chinese, apparently hungry for general aviation properties, are in negotiations for the SJ30 and a deal is in the offing. “They are at the table,” says one knowledgeable source, who predicts the acquisition will be done within a few months.
“It looks like their strategy to wait was a good one,” he says.