Al Marsh

Extra, Commander, playing waiting game

May 28, 2011 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Two firms are making important decisions this summer. For Commander Premiere Aircraft, the decision either continues or ends the effort to bring the Commander back into production. The company has been ordered to vacate the factory at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, airport by the city. The city was able to pay off the bonds it used to construct the facility by using casino money, and it now wants the tenant out. Premiere Commander was nearly sold to Ron Strauss of Canada until he ran into difficulty raising the money in Europe for the purchase. He is back there, now, talking with potential investors. This should all play out in 30 days. For¬†¬†Extra Aircraft, the pending decision is not as serious. The factory in Germany is doing well, but the United States distributor wants to open an assembly and distribution facility for the company’s single-engine turboprop. That was going to be in Montrose, Colorado, until the county government’s previous legal troubles with the local airport threatened the deal. “We’ll go elsewhere,” Extra officials said, and cities in Colorado and around the country responded. One of them called me and I forwarded the information to Extra. But now the company says it will wait 60 to 90 days before deciding to leave Montrose.

UPDATE: Commander Premiere Aircraft has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and is looking for a new buyer.

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