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Thu, Sep 04, 2008

More Signs Of Hard Times: Cirrus Lays Off Workers

Company Trimming Eight Percent Of Workforce

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 09.04.08 1745 EDT: Tough economic times have resulted in more layoffs within the general aviation industry. Cirrus Design announced Thursday it will lay off 102 workers by the end of this week, as it works to scale back overhead in the face of declining sales.

"We’re dealing with some straight-forward realities," said Cirrus President and Chief Operating Officer Brent Wouters to the Duluth News Tribune. "We’re in a difficult economic environment that has impacted the aviation business. We're not selling as many airplanes as we'd hoped to this year."

Wouters told ANN a total of 102 jobs will be eliminated, including 25 resignations. Cirrus hopes to trim its workforce by about eight percent, amounting to 73 jobs at the company's headquarters in Duluth, and another 29 in its Grand Forks, MN composites production facility.

"Cirrus has to be more flexible as a business to demand fluctuations," Wouters told ANN. "We need to tighten up efficiencies."

Aero-News Alert: Listen To Cirrus President And COO Brent Wouter's Comments On This Week's Layoffs Here


Company co-founder and vice chairman Dale Klapmeier told sales have been "up and down this year," though extremely poor in August. "It’s a rotten deal all around," Klapmeier said, adding the layoffs range "from engineering to manufacturing."

Cirrus hopes sales will rebound by the end of this year, as buyers take advantage of tax incentives included in the federal economic stimulus bill passed in January.

The Cirrus SR series has been the best-selling single-engine piston general aviation aircraft line for the past six years. In 2007, Cirrus delivered 710 SR20 and SR22 aircraft, according to figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. The company shipped 76 planes through the second quarter of 2008.

Klapmeier stressed Cirrus is "still the strongest of any aviation companies," and is weathering the current economy better than others in the piston aircraft market.

The layoffs were expected to be completed by Thursday afternoon. After the reductions, Cirrus will employ approximately 1,230 people, including 980 in Duluth.



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