Ballistic Recovery Systems, Inc. announced Nov. 21 that it had temporarily laid off about 25 percent of its workforce, primarily at its South St. Paul, Minn., headquarters. Recent cutbacks by two major customers necessitated the move, BRS said in a press release. The company designs and manufactures whole-airframe emergency parachute systems for general aviation, light sport, and ultralight aircraft.
BRS believes this layoff may last several weeks to months, depending on when its customers see their own sales improve.
“While we never enjoy doing this, the ups and downs of the marketplace, especially with this most recent and current economic downturn, require us to make difficult choices with regard to the labor component of our business,” said Larry Williams, CEO and president.
“The general aviation and sport aviation markets have taken a substantial nosedive recently—off 18 percent this year—with a potential further erosion of sales through at least the first half of 2009. While we, thankfully, have other nonaviation business to support ourselves during this period, our core business lines are taking a substantial hit and we need to react proactively to this reality,” Williams said.
Although BRS experienced strong sales in October—the first month of its new fiscal year—the company does not expect to sustain that level of sales in light of developments at Cirrus Design Corp. and Flight Design, and as a result cutting expenses has become a priority.
“We will make it through this downturn, of this I have no doubt, and realigning our workforce to this new environment is one component that is required,” Williams said.