LETECKE ZAVODY a.s. (LZ Aeronautical Industries Inc)
Letecke Zavody (formerly Let AS, Kunovice) was established in 1936 as a repair shop for Ba33, B-534, Junkers W34 and Arado Ar96B aircraft. Construction of new plant started in 1950, producing Yak-11 trainer as C-11; subsequently involved in programmes for Aero Ae 45/145, L-200 Morava, L-29 Delfin, L-13 Blanik sailplane, and Zlin Z37. Ayres Aviation Holdings Inc, an affiliate of Ayres Corporation of the USA, acquired a 93.3 per cent holding in Let a.s. in August 1998. However, this lapsed when, in mid-2000, Ayres funding was suspended, all 1,400 Let employees were sent on leave and production was halted due to expiry of credit arrangement with largest creditor, Konsolidacni Banka, which field a bankruptcy suit against Let in September 2000; Let officially declared bankrupt on 24 October 2000.
Let had focused recently on upgrading the L410/420; repairing, modernising and selling used L410s, especially low-time aircraft from the former USSR; continuing the L610G certification programme; production of L-13/23/33 series of Blanik sailplanes; and attracting subcontract work. Let was to have been responsible for all wings and tail units for the now-defunct Ayres LM-200 Loadmaster, as well as fuselages for Loadmasters assembled in the Czech Republic, and had delivered some components to USA before mid-2000 stoppage. However, by March 2001 funding only to maintain Let's contribution to Ayres Loadmaster programme had apparently been obtained, and L610G programme had been put up for sale.
Search for new owner resolved on 16 July 2001 when Moravan Aeroplanes acquired company for Kcs200 million (US$5 million). Moravan plans to continue marketing of L410/420 and Let's sailplane range, and to place Z 400 Rhino work with the factory as well. In early 2002 it was announced that LZ had acquired the L610G programme for continued development.