April 24, 2012
By Jim Moore
Hawker Beechcraft announced another round of layoffs April 23, trimming 350 jobs from its Wichita, Kan., workforce as the venerable airplane maker struggles to emerge from beneath a crushing debt load. The layoffs are the latest in a series of job cuts in recent years, following most recently elimination of 300 jobs in November.
Company officials announced the latest layoffs to employees in a one-page letter that vows to continue “our effort to become a smaller, more agile company that will remain competitive in the future.” The April 23 memo, signed by Hawker Beechcraft Inc. CEO Robert “Steve” Miller and Hawker Beechcraft Corp. Chairman Bill Boisture, offered no assurance these layoffs would be the last, and company officials declined further comment.
The company recently reported a net loss of $632.8 million for 2011, more than twice the 2010 loss, and warned in recent filings that the company continues to struggle to meet debt obligations in excess of $2.3 billion. “There is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” the company reported in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the April 23 memo to staff, Boisture and Miller said the company is reducing staff and scaling back production as part of a strategy to survive.
“While we have experienced success with our transformation, market conditions are requiring us to adjust our overall production cadence to help ensure the company will compete effectively in the future,” the memo states.
Various media outlets have reported in recent weeks that Hawker Beechcraft is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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