Even as it eyes an eventual emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Hawker Beechcraft will idle some 240 employees following a lag in negotiations with the U.S. government for additional T-6 airplanes. The furloughs are expected to begin later this month.
HBC spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said hourly workers will be idled in one- and two-week increments not to exceed seven weeks over the course of the year, according to the Associated Press. Negotiations currently underway with the U.S. government for the next round of T-6 training airplanes called for in the Joint Primary Aircraft Training Systems contract are behind schedule, she said, necessitating the slowdown.
The idled employees all work in the T-6 and AT-6 programs in Wichita, KS. Pricing for each lot of the airplanes under the contract is negotiated individually, and the cost is considered a main piece of the talks.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Alexander said that the airplanes currently being built are part of Lot 18, and that at this point in the contract, they company and the government should be talking about Lot 20. But negotiations over Lot 19 are still underway, and she said she could not speculate about why the talks are bogged down. She said the furloughs will allow the company to match production with demand.
HBC won a contract to build more than 700 of the airplanes for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force in 1996.