More Layoffs Pending at Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft

 - January 8, 2009, 11:37 AM

The healthy backlogs that Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft thought they had six months ago apparently haven’t been able to weather the worldwide recession, with both manufacturers separately announcing more layoffs this week. Wichita TV station KAKE is reporting that up to 3,000 employees at the two aircraft makers soon could be on the street. In a letter sent today to employees, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO Jim Schuster said, “We face one of the most challenging economic environments in the history of our company and our industry. No one could have predicted the rapid downturn in the global economy, nor its almost unimaginable magnitude.” As a result, he said, “We are forced to substantially decrease our 2009 production levels and take the painful step of reducing our workforce accordingly.” In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said, “The second half of the year ended by not only putting on the brakes, but also backing up a bit…As the global economic crisis has continued to deepen, we have to further reduce the 2009 production schedule, and this will regrettably result in additional workforce reductions.” Schuster said he does not expect a quick recovery of the worldwide economy, noting, “Instead, we believe the best case scenario is that current instability will continue and in the worst case, conditions may erode further.”