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Thu, Nov 13, 2008

The Axe Falls At Cessna: 665 Employees To Be Laid Off

500 Layoffs In Wichita, The Rest In Bend

Cessna Aircraft Company had some unwelcome news for employees Wednesday, two weeks before the start of the holiday season. Approximately 665 workers will soon be handed their walking papers at the planemaker's facilities in Wichita, KS and Bend, OR.

The Wichita Eagle reports about 500 workers in Wichita will receive their 60-day notices in the next few weeks, along with another 165 workers in Bend... about 1/3 of that facility's workforce.

The layoffs will go into effect in early 2009. Wichita television station KSN-3 reports Cessna has offered all employees the option of voluntary furloughs with severance packages, to helpfully ease the sting of involuntary layoffs.

"We have now finalized the production schedule for 2009 and supporting annual operating plans," the company said in a e-mail. "These actions are regrettable, but necessary to ensure our long-term stability and success."

The planemaker also added two more days to the upcoming holiday shut down... days that will be unpaid

As ANN reported, Cessna warned last week of the impending layoffs, which company President and CEO Jack Pelton blamed on the current economic downturn.

"In response to our current economic environment, we are adjusting our aircraft delivery plans for 2009," wrote Pelton in a November 4 memo to workers. "We will have a slight increase in total deliveries for 2009 as compared to 2008; however, this will be lower than what was originally planned. The plan will include an increase in the number of Mustang deliveries and a decrease in some of the other Citation models. We are also planning on fewer piston aircraft deliveries in 2009."

KSN adds that jobs at Cessna's plant in Independence, KS appear to be safe for the moment, thanks to strong sales of the Citation Mustang light jet... but we doubt anyone at Cessna is resting easy.

FMI: www.cessna.com

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