On 4 December 2023, Van's Aircraft filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, a key step in the reorganization of our company. During this period of reorganization, we will continue to source, produce, and provide parts, service, and support to our customers. We will also be crating and shipping kit orders.
Over the past few years, the company has faced a handful of complex issues, including unprecedented supply chain challenges throughout COVID, faulty primer that led to corrosion problems on quick build kits, and problems with laser-cut parts that were manufactured in response to high demand. As a result of this combination of issues, the company experienced serious cash-flow problems from which it could not recover through the normal course of business.
During that time, Van's built up a significant and high-value parts inventory. As we manufacture the additional parts needed to balance this inventory, we will leverage it to fulfil orders for kits and parts over the next 12 to 18 months.
The purpose of the Chapter 11 filing is to allow Van's to continue to provide ongoing support for its customers, suppliers, and employees for many years to come. We understand that this situation creates a hardship for everyone involved. However, without these changes we do not see a viable path forward that would allow Van's Aircraft to remain in business and support its customers.
We invite you to watch this video message from Van's founder, Dick VanGrunsven, explaining the Chapter 11 filing.
Over the past several weeks the team at Van's has been developing plans for each impacted group of customers. These include customers who need laser-cut replacement parts; customers with deposits on kit orders; and customers with deposits on engine, propeller, and avionics orders. We want to provide meaningful information to each of our customers as soon as possible, so they know what their options are.
Please note that the plans described below are dependent on the approval of the court. The information discussed is what we know at this time. We will communicate further updates as appropriate.
Customers who received laser-cut parts
A team at Van's has completed a careful, detailed review that delineates the specific list of laser-cut parts for each individual customer kit order. Upon approval of the court, Van's will begin contacting customers to provide detailed information about laser-cut parts that may have been included in their individual kits, as well as information about the company's parts replacement program and how it will work. Van's will send a communication to each customer, containing the detailed list of laser-cut parts in-scope for their individual kit(s), based on the actual date their kit was crated, and the laser-cut parts that were available as of that date.
Our goal is to start the process of shipping replacement parts to customers this month, and to complete the delivery of replacement parts to all impacted customers before the end of 2024. More than 1,800 customers are affected by this issue, some of whom have more than one affected kit. The cost to manufacture and ship replacement parts to customers will be very significant. It will take time to provide replacement parts to all affected customers.
Customers with deposits on engines/powerplants, propellers, and avionics
We are working with our engine, propeller, and avionics partners to develop our plans for these products and customers as soon as possible. We will update customers with these orders when we have been able to establish specific plans with each partner. Due to the volume and nature of these orders, we do not expect to have answers for these customers before mid-January. If we have meaningful information to share, we will update you sooner.
Customers with open parts orders
Van's is reviewing all open parts orders. Price increases will need to be applied to some of these orders. Customers with open parts orders that require updated pricing will be contacted soon and will receive access to a website where they will be able to review and act upon the details of their existing orders and Van's proposed order modifications. Orders which do not require modification will be processed and shipped in the normal course of business.
Customers with deposits on aircraft kits manufactured by Van's Aircraft
Van's will begin contacting customers with open kit orders that were placed prior to the filing date within the next 7 to 10 days with an offer to apply the full amount of their existing deposits toward the purchase of the same kit, under new terms and conditions including a price increase. These customers will receive an email that will direct them to a website where they will be able to view the details of their existing order, the amount of their deposit and Van's proposed order modifications. Customers can then choose to accept their modified order(s) on the website.
Van's expects to resume shipping in-stock kit orders within the next 7 to 10 days. We will do our best to prioritize those who have waited longest, but our kit fulfilment schedule must be financially acceptable to the court, based substantially on cash flow rather than the traditional and historical method of order fulfilment that Van's customers have experienced in the past. We will be constrained by - and will make prioritization decisions based on - the rate and timing of order renewal, availability of in-stock parts, and our need to ship kits that generate positive cash flow. Where we are able to do so, we will also consider the age of the original customer order.
Vendors with open invoices
Our network of dedicated manufacturing and supply vendors is essential to our current and future success. We are working with our suppliers to establish plans that assure we maintain continuity in manufacturing and production, as needed to deliver parts and kits to customers.
Van's will communicate regularly concerning its progress throughout the reorganization process and will maintain information related to the Chapter 11 filing on its website, at the following address:
The day a company files Chapter 11, which is referred to as the petition date, the company places itself under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court.
Van's will file its proposed plan of reorganization within the next 90 days explaining how the company will operate in the future, and how its financial obligations that existed at the time of filing will be dealt with.
Van's will continue to operate, under court supervision in the normal course of business, building and selling airplane kits.
Van's will be increasing prices of kits and parts.
All post-petition financing requires court approval.
Payments of debts, other financial obligations, and any litigations are frozen, as of the petition date.
The formal plan of reorganization will be circulated to Van's unsecured creditors for a vote.
After the vote, the court is asked to approve the plan. Once the plan is approved, Van's will emerge from bankruptcy.
After emerging from bankruptcy, Van's will pay down its debt to pre-petition creditors according to the approved plan.