PORTLAND, Maine — The turboprop plane startup Kestrel announced Wednesday that it will merge with the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Eclipse Aerospace, a similar company that already has a light jet on the market.

Chad Elkins, a spokesman for the merged company called ONE Aviation, said the merger will not have an immediate impact on employment at Kestrel’s operation at Brunswick Landing, formerly Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Alan Klapmeier, Kestrel’s founder and previous founder of Cirrus Aircraft, will lead the combined company. Klapmeier in 2012 decided to make Wisconsin the company’s headquarters after public officials in Maine lauded the company’s plan to make Brunswick its home and bring up to 300 jobs to the base.

Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, said in an email Wednesday he sees the merger as good news.

“We view this as a very positive development as it now strengthens the Kestrel business and future operations at Brunswick Landing,” Levesque wrote.

Kestrel is working on a prototype of an all-composite turboprop plane for general aviation. Elkins said ONE Aviation aims to put a prototype of the Kestrel 350 in the air in 18 to 24 months.

Kestrel has to this point had fits and starts in Brunswick and elsewhere, falling behind on Brunswick rent payments in September 2013 and meeting with delays in financing that put it behind schedule in paying back loans from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. In July 2014, the company lured a foreign investor but Klapmeier told the Bangor Daily News at the time that fundraising was ongoing.

Levesque wrote Wednesday that Kestrel is current with their rent payments in Brunswick.

The merged company has one plane on the market, the Eclipse 550, billed as the only twin-engine light jet costing less than $3 million.

Eclipse has also had difficulties, according to media reports, including a round of layoffs about five months after it launched its jet.

By merging, the companies expect to cut costs.

When that happens, Elkins said, Kestrel will benefit from the sales and marketing teams already working to sell the Eclipse plane and will share duties between teams working on various parts of each plane.

In addition to Brunswick, the newly joined company has locations in Superior, Wisconsin, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Chicago.

Eclipse’s former CEO, Mason Holland, will lead the board of directors for ONE Aviation. The company announced the merger during a general aviation trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.