Cessna Aircraft To Shutter Columbus, Ga. Facilities
Cessna Aircraft yesterday said it is closing its three component-production plants in Columbus, Ga., over the next six to 24 months and will move the work to its facilities in Independence, Kan., and Chihuahua, Mexico. In tandem, the aircraft manufacturer announced it will “accelerate” plans to move some subassembly work from its Wichita facilities to Mexico. According to Cessna, there are currently more than 300 employees in Columbus and about 175 in Wichita who will be affected by this decision, though “no immediate jobs will be lost with this announcement.” Cessna said it made the moves “to get in front of increased global competition and the effects of the economic downturn.” Business aviation industry consultant Brian Foley told AIN that he views this as more of a “natural progression” for general aviation manufacturers to become the designers, integrators and final assemblers of aircraft. “This is the tack that Boeing took over the years, and we think there’s a similar move afoot in our industry toward manufacturing globalization,” he said. “The U.S. will continue to be a dominant general aviation force, but with a lot more overseas cooperation and content.” He also noted that Cessna is facing increased competition from Embraer, which has the advantage of using low-cost labor in its home country of Brazil.