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Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cessna cuts work week, warns of furloughs

February 7, 2009

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— Cessna Aircraft Co. said Friday that it plans to cut the work week of some production workers to just three or four days a week as part of its ongoing effort to reduce costs amid a slumping economy.

The move by the nation’s largest manufacturer of general aviation aircraft comes a week after the Wichita-based company announced a total of 4,600 job cuts.

Managers personally informed the affected employees, primarily those who make and assemble the small components used in building aircraft, said Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver. He had no numbers on how many workers in the components manufacturing department were affected.

“The key is to keep inventory from building up and to make sure that we are producing only the parts we need to produce the number of aircraft we are going to produce this year,” Oliver said.

Reduced work weeks will begin on Feb. 13 and probably last seven weeks, he said.

Cessna, which is a unit of Providence, R.I.-based Textron Inc., is also looking at other cost-cutting measures, including forced time off for some employees.

“I don’t foresee a plant-wide shutdown, but details are being worked on specific future furloughs,” Oliver said.

Last week, warning notices went out for most of the last 4,600 laid-off workers, although a small number of support jobs are still being identified as part of those cuts.

“We think we are at a level — given current economic conditions — that will carry us through this year and perhaps even next year,” Oliver said.

Cessna is not the only Wichita aircraft maker that’s hurting.

Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft Corp. announced Tuesday it would lay off 2,300 workers on top of the nearly 500 positions cut last year.

Two days later, Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace said it is cutting 1,360 jobs, including about 350 at its Wichita plant, which 3,100 workers.

Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems plant in Wichita said last year it would lay off 800 workers because of the delay of a U.S. Air Force tanker replacement program. Boeing Co. has said it plans to lay off 10,000 more workers across the company.

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