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Slow aircraft demand spurs 1,300 more Cessna layoffs

Test pilots do a preflight inspection before making a test flight in a Cessna Citation Mustang business jet in this June 15, 2005, file photo in Wichita. Aircraft maker Cessna announced 1,300 more layoffs Friday in a new round of cuts.

Test pilots do a preflight inspection before making a test flight in a Cessna Citation Mustang business jet in this June 15, 2005, file photo in Wichita. Aircraft maker Cessna announced 1,300 more layoffs Friday in a new round of cuts.

June 13, 2009

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— Cessna Aircraft Co., the nation’s largest builder of corporate jets, said Friday it is laying off another 1,300 workers, raising the number of jobs eliminated to half of its work force since November as the recession has depressed demand for its planes.

Cessna said the cutbacks will affect all its facilities.

“This is a cyclical industry, and right now we are in the worst part of the cycle. Our industry continues to struggle,” said company spokesman Robert Stangarone.

The aircraft industry lags the general economy by about eight quarters, he said.

Cessna told workers that the first 800 60-day layoff notices, affecting mostly production workers, will go out by June 19.

The company then will mostly shut down for a previously scheduled furlough period from June 22 to July 17. The remaining 500 affected workers will get their notices after they return, but no later than Aug. 14.

The company, a unit of Textron Inc. of Providence, R.I., also announced Friday an additional three-week furlough companywide on top of those moves.

During the furlough only essential services, such as customer deliveries and product support, will remain open.

“We are still seeing orders being canceled. We still see lots of customers waiting to see if the recovery in the economy comes to fruition,” Stangarone said. “We see the average daily (airplane) utilization, that continues to decline.”

Cessna has laid off about half of its employees since the first round of cuts was announced in November. The company employed nearly 16,000 people last year — including about 12,000 in Wichita — before the economic downturn slashed global demand for corporate aircraft.

The new job cuts come on top of 6,900 layoffs since November. Workers had been bracing for the next round of layoffs since the company warned them earlier this month that still more cutbacks were coming.

“We are confident that the business will come back, as it always has, and the actions we are taking are helping us position for the recovery,” Stangarone said.

In April, Cessna announced it was laying off 2,300 workers across the company and closing its Bend, Ore., plant as it tries to restructure its product line amid declining plane orders. Production of the Corvalis high-performance, single-engine planes at the Bend plant will move to the Independence facility.

Wichita-based Cessna Aircraft has other manufacturing facilities in Independence, Kan., Columbus, Ga., and Chihuahua, Mexico, along with 10 service centers across the United States and Europe.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

It may not be a good thing for the Kansas economy, but the simple fact is that private jets such as these are examples of the waste and excess at the top by corporate interests.

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