Piper Announces "Indefinite" Suspension Of Light Jet
ANN has just received confirmation of something we feared and
related to you just a few days ago... the suspension of Piper much
vaunted entry into the jet manufacturing arena. Piper has announced
that they are 'indefinitely suspending further development' of the
Piper Altaire business jet following a review to align the
company's business goals with the light jet market outlook,
investment strategies and overall economic forecasts.
"Following an evaluation of Altaire development and light jet
forecasts we determined the best course of action for the company
going forward is to indefinitely suspend the program, preserving
intellectual property and progress to date," said Piper Interim
President and CEO Simon Caldecott.
"Unfortunately and regrettably, this will have serious
consequences for many talented Piper employees and for our Piper
Caldecott said that while the Altaire program was on schedule, on
budget, and hitting aircraft performance targets, planned
development costs had risen above the point that were recoverable
under foreseeable light jet market projections. The company will
not release the budget for the Altaire development program or
expenditures to date. Piper will refund the deposits of Altaire
position holders or their deposits can be applied towards other new
Why? Light Jet Market NOT Recovering
"Clearly, the market for light jets is not recovering
sufficiently and quickly enough to allow us to continue developing
the program under the economic circumstances we face," Caldecott
"However, going forward as a company, we will step up product
improvements for our turboprop and piston-powered product lines. As
a result, Piper will increase the number of personnel dedicated to
our sustaining engineering function," he added. "In addition, the
company is initiating third-party engineering and manufacturing
services to preserve as much of our talent pool and as many jobs as
Among the enterprise initiatives underway is Design by Piper.
This third-party service provider will perform proprietary
engineering and technical functions for other companies to take
advantage of the high level and wide range of some of the talent
that had been assigned to the Altaire development program.
Additionally, Precision by Piper, another third-party service
provider, will leverage the company's precision manufacturing
expertise and recent upgrades to its manufacturing capabilities
which were completed in anticipation of Altaire production.
Utilizing the company's vertically integrated manufacturing model,
Piper is also stepping up product improvements and investments in
existing lines of its business and training aircraft.
New Piper CEO: 'Company Will Persevere'
Caldecott (pictured below) said, "Without a doubt this event
will impact the company, but Piper employees have demonstrated
great resilience before to overcome such economic obstacles and I
am confident we will once more persevere over the long-run."
Deliveries of Piper's piston and turboprop powered aircraft have
increased quarter over quarter and year over year as the company
continues to outperform the marketplace, meeting or exceeding
internal financial and delivery targets.
"Certainly, increased product improvements to the existing aircraft
in production and creation of these engineering and manufacturing
enterprises will not make up for the loss of many of our extremely
talented colleagues that have been brought in for the Altaire
program. But we will make every effort to preserve as many as
possible," Caldecott said. "Unquestionably, we will be losing some
of the best and most professional talent in aviation to others in
our industry and that is our loss and their gain."
Company to Offer Placement Assistance
Piper is preparing a schedule of personnel reductions and will
provide information to the affected employees as soon as possible.
The company will aggressively work with aviation companies and
other employers who are currently seeking talent to place as many
impacted Piper employees in other positions as possible. Companies
can contact the Piper Placement hotline at 772-567-4361.
Current employment at Piper totals more than 850 individuals. As a
result of the indefinite suspension of the Altaire jet development
program, the company will progressively lay off approximately 150
employees as the program ramps down. That will bring total company
employment to somewhat more than 700 individuals. In addition, the
company is quickly eliminating the positions of 55 contract