And Even That May Not Be The End Of It
Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster told employees Tuesday the
Wichita-based planemaker will eliminate 2,300 positions, with many
of those cuts coming at the end of this week.
The Wichita Business Journal reports Schuster made the
announcement in a company-wide memorandum. So far, the company
hasn't disclosed how those layoffs will be distributed throughout
"We at HBC have conducted a sweeping evaluation of our business
plans and implemented a wide range of measures to dramatically
reduce our costs," Schuster wrote. "As a consequence of these
actions, we will be forced to reduce our work force by
approximately 2,300 employees before the end of the year."
As ANN reported, initial speculation placed
the number of layoffs at close to 2,700. The timing of the layoffs
wasn't by accident, as Friday marks the 91st day since Hawker Beech
laid off 490 workers. Anyone laid off before that timeframe expires
would count towards the maximum of 500 workers that triggers
mandatory 60-day notices under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining
By holding the previous layoffs to under 500, Hawker Beechcraft
steered clear of the requirement under WARN to pay workers for two
extra months. While coming layoffs will exceed that total,
presumably Hawker Beech would prefer not to be required to pay
those original 490 workers their two months pay as well.
Schuster (right) cited the weak state of the business aircraft
market, as well as problems with the federal stimulus package now
under consideration before Congress. Schuster said that plan fails
to loosen credit markets, impacting the ability of what customers
there are to finance high-dollar purchases.
The CEO also had some choice words for media pundits and
politicians, who in recent months have scapegoated general aviation
as "a wasteful extravagance instead of a critical business tool and
the source of millions of American jobs."
Schuster's announcement is but the latest wave in a storm of
bad news for the aerospace industry, and for Wichita in particular.
Cessna announced it would lay off an additional 2,000
workers, with 1,500 of those jobs being cut in
Wichita. Boeing has also slashed 800 positions from Boeing IDS
Wichita, as part of the planemaker's
effort to trim 10,000 positions from its
"The increased challenges that lay before us demand an
extraordinary response from our company and the US aviation
industry to ensure our short-term stability and long-term success,"
Schuster said. "This is an extremely painful step for the HBC
family and community, but one that is absolutely necessary."
Alas, Schuster couldn't say whether this would be the end of
layoff announcements from Hawker Beechcraft. "While I wish I could
commit to you that this will be our final action, I cannot do so at
this time given the extreme volatility in the marketplace.
"The bottom line is that we must be prepared to do whatever is
required to make certain that we successfully emerge from the