The Kerrville Daily Times of Kerrville, Texas, broke the story on November 12, reporting that Mooney has furloughed all employees and shuttered the local factory where Mooney International had been slowly turning out aircraft. Nobody answered the phone at the factory, and a voicemail announcement appeared to confirm the bad news: “Please be advised that all Mooney employees have been furloughed at this time. Therefore, we are not able to respond to your inquiry.”
The Mooney brand is synonymous with speed, but the speed of aircraft production in recent years has not lived up to the lofty expectations expressed by company officials in 2014, following a reported ownership change that brought influx of foreign investment. Data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association shows the firm delivered 14 new aircraft in 2018, and just four in the first half of 2019.
Mooney announced FAA certification of its revamped M20U Ovation Ultra and M20V Acclaim Ultra in March 2017, though it also announced at the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in April 2017 that the two-seat M10 project was on hold. The company parted ways with its CEO, whose tenure lasted less than a year, a few weeks after that, and by July 2017 the firm’s new research-and-development facility in Chino, California, was closed.
Mooney dealers across the country either declined to speak on the record, or did not respond to voicemails seeking information. Company officials could not be reached for comment.
Originally founded in 1929 by Albert Mooney, the company that began life as the Mooney Aircraft Corporation went bankrupt in 1930, a victim of the Great Depression. In 1948, Mooney, with new investors, started Mooney Aircraft Incorporated in Wichita, Kansas, moving to Kerrville in 1953. The company’s history is riddled with financial woes, bankruptcy filings, production starts and stops, and ownership changes leading up to the announcement in October 2013, in a Chinese publication, that Meijing Group, described as a Chinese real estate developer, had begun the process of acquiring the company.
There is no indication in available public records that Mooney International Corp. has sought bankruptcy protection since.