January 9, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
While the headlines of layoffs might seem to be the continuation of the drumbeat of economic woes, that’s not entirely true at Cirrus Design. The company this week permanently eliminated 50 positions and continued furloughs for 100 of the 500 workers who were just recalled this week. Company officials say they are “cautiously optimistic” about 2009.
“We are bullish, not that 2009 is going to be smooth sailing,” said Bill King, vice president for administration at Cirrus Design. The company retains 1,050 workers and is down to about 950 for the next 90 days. At the expiration of that period, Cirrus officials will take another look at how the economy is doing.
The other 50 positions are gone without a chance of callback. They came from engineering, quality control, purchasing, and receiving. Cirrus had been in a “leaner” mode, eliminating excess positions, since last fall when it appeared the economy was in trouble and there were 80 airplanes completed and waiting for new customers. The 100 continued furloughs came from line manufacturing. Through planning with the state, those furloughed have been able to retain medical benefits and supplemental income through unemployment benefits without having to worry about finding a new job, King said.
“Our crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else ’s,” King said. The production rate will remain at eight aircraft a week.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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