Swearingen SJ30 jet on a comeback?

October 6, 2008

Ed Swearingen first introduced plans for his SJ30 business jet in 1987, and since that time the aircraft has been built, certified, and four have been delivered. But financial troubles have kept the jet out of customers’ hands as first one and then another investor failed to reach full production.

Now Emirates Investment and Development Company, called Emivest for short, has purchased 80 percent of the company and has plans for the jet’s future. Just what those plans might be were unclear during an Oct. 5 press conference at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando, Fla. Ed Swearingen and past officers of the company attended the press conference.

Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, chairman of both Emivest and Emivest Aerospace Corporation, was unable to attend the press conference due to a delayed flight. Those present seemed to back away from a comment made by Al Ghandi to reporters in Dubai that within 18 months to two years, the company would produce 100 airplanes a year. There are 250 customers, including actor Morgan Freeman.

Swearingen, contacted after the press conference, said it would be difficult to ramp up to that level of production in two years. Emivest Chief Investment Officer Anthony Power would not be pinned down on when employees might be added or operations ramped up to resume production. Four of the aircraft were built.

Power did say the aircraft would hence be known as the Emivest SJ30, and added that the plant in West Virginia would continue to play a role in the aircraft’s production. And who owns the remaining 20 percent? Power would not say.

The company was formerly known as Sino Swearingen Aircraft and owned by various government agencies in Taiwan.