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Repo Pilot? GM Bankruptcy Judge Cancels Leases for Seven Gulfstream Business Jets

Everybody loves to hate corporate jets, even though the U.S. leads the world in making them, which provides high paying manufacturing jobs and billions of dollars in exports.

by on Jun.19, 2009

Gulfstream Fleet the G4 and G5 are the bigger ones

The G4 and G5 jets are high flying, long range aircraft that easily outperform commercial jets.

Yesterday Judge Robert E. Gerber of the United States Bankruptcy in New York granted GM’s request to invalidate its leases on seven corporate jets and its huge hanger at the airport in Wayne County, Michigan.

Since the motion was unopposed — would anyone out there seriously consider arguing for corporate jets in the current political environment? — the hearing was short.

The Honorable Gerber ruled that GM could reject the leases under section 365 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, effective on the date of GM’s surrender of the planes and their hanger. AVN Air, LLC (AVN), General Electric Capital Corporation (GE Capital), SunTrust Equipment Finance & Leasing Corp. (SunTrust), Wayne County Airport Authority  (WCAA) and US Bank were the business entities holding the leases. 

The jets in question – two Gulfstream G5 models and five G4 models – are among the most expensive private aircraft in the world, ranging in price from $40 million to $50 million each when new, depending on optional equipment and custom interiors. Determining the fair market value of the jets in the currently depressed market for aircraft is difficult since few are selling.


General Aviation Shipments Down In First Quarter

Overall manufacturing decline is affecting broad segments of the economy, cutting high-paying jobs.

by on May.11, 2009

Cessna Citation Mustang

Estimates show that 15,000 high-paying jobs were lost in the U.S. during the past several months.

The ability of manufacturing to create wealth and high-paying jobs continues to be hampered by the global Great Recession. The latest evidence of how badly the economic crisis is affecting living standards comes from the very industry that supplies the titans of industry who brought on the crisis in the first place. Aviation might sell to multi-millionaires, but it largely employs skilled, middle class American workers, an increasingly threatened but highly productive group.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said that in the first three months of 2009 deliveries of general aviation airplanes totaled 462 units, a 41% drop from the same period last year, with industry billings falling 18.2% to $4.34 billion.

This is roughly the same decline that automakers are facing, but in general aviation, a category that excludes the largest airliners and military planes, the production numbers are much smaller, and the sales prices much higher. So just 462 units, or the output of  one shift of a GM final assembly plant, translates into a billion dollar hit, perhaps not much by Washington’s standards but real money for people struggling in the real economy.

Industry estimates show that 15,000 good jobs evaporated in the U.S. during the past several months as such historic companies as Cessna, Mooney, Piper and Gulfstream grappled with the ongoing crisis. Cessna Aircraft Company in Kansas is the world’s largest manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. In 2008, Cessna delivered 1,301 aircraft, including a market-leading 467 Citation business jets, while reporting revenues of about $5.6 billion. Cessna has a backlog of $13 billion as of March 31, 2009, but it too has been laying off workers since last November, cutting about 6,000 of 15,000 employees, as sales dwindle and it reorganizes.    (more…)