Friday 16th November 2018.
L-610G Information.

L-610G-Beset by funding shortages and a series of ownership changes since its designers first conceived the project in the mid-1980s, the L-610G program remains grounded indefinitely, as its third owner in as many years went bankrupt on March 31. Awarded to Moravan Aeroplanes subsidiary LZ Aeronautical Industries in July 2001 by a Czech bankruptcy administrator, the sole L-610G prototype remains in a hangar in Albany, Ga., after the administrator and Moravan failed to recover the airplane from receivers of the bankrupt Ayres Corp. Now, a receiver appointed by a regional court in Brno must once again start the process of accounting for assets and finding a new owner.

When Ayres Corp. chairman Fred Ayres negotiated with the Czech government to buy 93 percent of the foundering Let Kunovice in 1998, a tone of cautious optimism tempered creeping suspicion over the U.S. company's motives. Although many of Let's workers remained skeptical about Ayres and his plans for Let, any chance for steady work in an economy struggling to adapt to a free market system seemed better than the likely alternative of unemployment.

Two years later, most of Let's 1,400 workers found themselves out of work, after the commerce court in Brno declared the company bankrupt. Saddled with a mountain of debt incurred both before and after the 1998 takeover and tormented by threats of legal action from disgruntled customers, Ayres failed to deliver on his promise to revitalize the half-century-old manufacturer, leaving a pair of new aircraft programs, including the GE CT7-9D-powered Let L-610G, in limbo.

Although LZ vice president Patrik Joachimczyk had told AIN that the company would abandon the program if it hadn't reached a funding deal with one of three potential investors by the end of 2002, LZ continued to cite interest from South Korea until the company again fell into bankruptcy last month.

In February last year Canadian partners in LZ filed criminal charges in the Czech Republic against LZ chairman Libor Soska for alleged misappropriation of their investment. Frontier Petroleum Services principles Don Jewitt and Milan Matusik claim they bought 49 percent of the company's stock for Kc205 million ($6.9 million), but when they demanded an accounting of their investment, LZ personnel physically blocked their entry into the plant for a board meeting. Soska claims the money represents a loan repayable in five years.

Faced with numerous certification delays and program changes since the airplane's first iteration-the Walter-powered L-610M-appeared in 1989 under the stewardship of the Czech government, the L-610G appeared to have drawn its first customer in 1999, when Bujumbura, Burundi-based City Connexion claimed to have placed an order for two airplanes. A short time later, however, the government of Burundi seized the airline's banking and gold-mining interests, prompting its management to return to Europe post-haste.

As if to complicate matters further, the company that brokered the contract Switzerland's Airline Partners-opted out of a proposed deal for 30 airplanes that might have given Ayres enough deposit money to proceed with the airplane's certification .


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