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Report: More Hawker Beechcraft Layoffs Coming This Week

Around 2,700 More Positions May Be Cut

There will likely be more unsettling news to come from Wichita, as local media seem fairly certain a major layoff announcement is in the offing from Hawker Beechcraft.

KAKE-10 reports somewhere around 2,700 employees may be given layoff notices later this week. The station notes conflicting reports from anonymous "management sources" within the company, with one saying the number could exceed that total, with another asserting the actual number will be fewer.

"We're just hearing that we're supposed to find out something out either Thursday or Friday of this week. They'll give us some numbers," Hawker Beechcraft worker Russell Booth told the station.

If there's an announcement to be made, odds are it will be Friday. In addition to being the last day of the work week -- which, as any HR rep will tell you, is the preferred time to let workers go -- February 6 also marks the 91st day since Hawker Beech announced its last round of layoffs.

As ANN reported, company CEO Jim Schuster told workers in a November 4 memo the company needed to let go roughly five percent of its workforce. That equated to 490 positions -- just 10 shy of the 500-worker cutoff that triggers mandatory 60-day notices under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

By holding the previous layoffs to under 500, Hawker Beechcraft steered clear of the requirement under WARN to pay workers for two extra months. The coming layoffs will almost assuredly exceed that total; if the latest announcement is made prior to the 90-day cutoff, Hawker Beech would be required to pay those original 490 workers their two months pay as well.

Schuster sent a letter to employees on January 8, outlining a sobering outlook for 2009 and giving a heads-up of appropriate action that can be expected, Wichita's KSNW-3 reported last month.

"The general aviation market has slowed; new orders have fallen off considerably; many existing orders have been terminated and used inventory has increased dramatically. Simply put, consumer demand for aircraft and services has declined precipitously," Schuster wrote.

FMI: www.hawkerbeechcraft.com

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