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Eclipse Workers Back On The Job, Receive Paychecks

Employees for Eclipse Aviation have returned to work and are getting their paychecks, after being told last week that the company could not make payroll.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Eclipse Aviation Corp. employees have returned to work, but the company's troubles are not over as three more customers filed lawsuits seeking refunds from the troubled Albuquerque aircraft manufacturer.

"We are back at work and people are getting their paychecks," Eclipse spokeswoman Alana McCarraher wrote in an e-mail Monday.

Employees were seen leaving Eclipse facilities carrying boxes of personal belongings midday Thursday after being told by managers that the company could not make payroll.

A day later, Eclipse said employees should return to work Monday and their paychecks would be deposited by Tuesday.

There was no word Monday on whether Eclipse had been able to obtain the long-term financing it needs to remain solvent. Company officials have repeatedly declined to address the issue.

The company has said it needs $200 million to $300 million, according to aerospace industry analysts' reports.

Three more companies have filed lawsuits in federal court, seeking refunds from Eclipse for the Eclipse 500 light jets they ordered.

The latest lawsuits filed Friday bring the number filed against Eclipse to 10. Overall, the plaintiffs -- eight companies and two men -- are seeking more than $7 million from the company.

Most of the customers' complaints stem from a price increase of the Eclipse 500 jet from about $1.5 million to $2.15 million in June. The plaintiffs want refunds for the jets they ordered and claim Eclipse has refused to pay them what they are owed, court records show.

AR Airways, based in New Delhi, India, said Eclipse failed to deliver an Eclipse 500 it had said would arrive in July and the firm believes Eclipse will fail to deliver two jets it has promised will arrive in the fourth quarter of this year, according to court records.

The company also is seeking refunds for eight aircraft Eclipse promised it would send in 2009.

Another company, Salt Lake City-based Utah Desert Investments, Inc. said Eclipse offered customers whose jets were to arrive in 2009 a chance to have them delivered earlier.

Court records show Eclipse offered in June to sell Utah Desert Investments jets that had been ordered by DayJet Corp.

DayJet, a Florida-based air taxi operator and Eclipse's largest single customer, announced in September it was ceasing passenger services and laid off most of its employees.

Utah Desert Investments said in the lawsuit that an Eclipse attorney told the company the three jets it had ordered would not be delivered in 2008 and that a revised schedule was supposed to have been sent to the company.

McCarraher declined comment on the lawsuits.

In responses to lawsuits filed in September and October, Eclipse has denied it acted fraudulently or in bad faith.

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