Piper Aircraft has announced it is indefinitely suspending further development of the Piper Altaire business jet following a review.
Formerly dubbed the PiperJet, the company says the review into the Altaire program allowed it to “align the company’s business goals with the light jet market outlook, investment strategies and overall economic forecasts.”
“Following an evaluation of Altaire development and light jet forecasts we determined the best course of action for the company going forward is to indefinitely suspend the program, preserving intellectual property and progress to date,” Piper’s Interim President and CEO Simon Caldecott said in a statement. “Unfortunately and regrettably, this will have serious consequences for many talented Piper employees and for our Piper Altaire customers.”
Caldecott said that while the Altaire program was on schedule and budget, and was meeting performance targets, its development costs had risen “above the point that were recoverable under foreseeable light jet market projections. “Clearly, the market for light jets is not recovering sufficiently and quickly enough to allow us to continue developing the program under the economic circumstances we face,” he added. “However, going forward as a company, we will step up product improvements for our turboprop and piston-powered product lines.”
The company said it will refund the deposits of Altaire position holders or their deposits can be applied towards other new Piper airplanes. Piper employs about 850 people, 150 of which are expected to be laid off as the Altair program draws down.