Mooney Workers Return

Kerrville factory reopens after a short hiatus.

Mooney employee
Dedicated Mooney employees are back to putting airplanes together in Kerrville, Texas, after a short furlough.Jon Whittle

After what can hopefully be appreciated as an extended Thanksgiving break, the workers at Mooney International are back to work at the historic factory in Kerrville, Texas. While the future of the company is not yet completely secure, there is a lot more optimism today than there was a few weeks ago when the company furloughed its entire staff.

In an official statement, the company said it is finalizing negotiations with a group of investors who have “shown a high level of interest in acquiring Mooney International with the intent of reestablishing the company as a viable production and support company for the Mooney brand of aircraft.” Mooney is not disclosing any other information about the negotiations until the papers have been signed, and would not say how many people are currently employed.

Like employees of many legacy aircraft manufacturers, the staff at Mooney is highly dedicated to the brand, despite the cyclical nature of the industry and the instability in the past decade. Since the company reopened and started delivering airplanes again in 2014 under Chinese ownership, fewer than a dozen airplanes have been delivered annually, except in 2018 when a total of 14 Ovation and Acclaim Ultras were shipped. The increasing trend for deliveries continued this year as eight customers picked up airplanes from the factory in the first three quarters.

While the airplanes are made mostly of metal, some composite parts have been incorporated in later years, including the cowl and fuselage for the Ultra models, which have a door on each side. Previous Mooney models were delivered with one door. The company also brings in revenue from parts manufacturing, not only produced for legacy Mooneys but also for other manufacturers. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent upgrading the environment and equipment at the factory in the past five years.

The company leadership is working “very hard on making [the completion of the acquisition] happen as quickly as possible for the benefit of the employees and the company and other stakeholders,” the statement said.

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