September 21, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Textron has announced that because of a continued weakness in new jet orders, an adjustment in aircraft production schedules and a reduction in workers will take place at Cessna Aircraft Co.
“While we are seeing solid performance in most of our other businesses, we have not yet seen a discernable improvement in business jet order activity,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott C. Donnelly. “Therefore, we are taking further production and restructuring actions at Cessna.”
Employees covered by a bargaining agreement have recall rights if Cessna starts adding workers. The non-bargaining unit people are losing their jobs. Cessna officials refer to these as permanent job reductions.
Cessna Chairman, President, and CEO Jack Pelton said there would be a reduction of 700 workers. In a letter, Pelton wrote:
“The gains made in the first half of the year in the global economy have stalled, and Cessna’s performance continues to mirror the lackluster economy. While cancellations have slowed, the recovery and growth we expected to see throughout the year have not materialized, and the timing of any recovery remains uncertain. This requires additional adjustment to our production schedules, and more than ever, cost is critical to our competitive position. We must continue to lower our cost structure to remain competitive.
“These continuing challenges have forced us to make the difficult decision to announce an additional work force reduction of 700 employees. This was not an easy decision and not easy news to bring to Cessnans. I know you have questions and concerns regarding these reductions, and we will work diligently to ensure we communicate the full impact to employees as soon as possible.
“Our strategy is to defend and protect our current markets while investing in products and services to secure our future, but we can do this only if we succeed in restructuring our processes and reducing our costs. This is not the responsibility only of one organization or department; it means every Cessnan must keep a watchful eye on costs, focus on continuous improvement and quickly and decisively eliminate processes that do not add value.
“It is not easy to bring news to you of further reductions, but our ability to compete now and in the future leaves us little choice. I know these are hard times, but we will get through if we work as one team, each of us playing an important role.”
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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