Textron Aviation announced four-week furloughs “for most of our U.S. based employees” beginning March 23 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company added that it was “adjusting production to align with anticipated market demand.” With world financial markets cratering amid the unfolding pandemic, “adjusting production” could mean cuts to Cessna or Beechcraft production lines, or both.
The statement said the belt-tightening decision was “tough” and cited “the safety and well-being of our employees and customers” as a “top priority.”
The brands had just come off a successful 2019, according to the year-end General Aviation Manufacturers Association report on worldwide aircraft shipments and billing, which documented strong sales among the single-engine piston aircraft fleet and business jet segments.
The Wichita, Kansas-based aviation manufacturer is one of the largest employers in the city and state, The Wichita Eagle reported. The furloughs follow hundreds of Textron layoffs in December 2019 that mostly affected engineers and other professionals.
The emailed statement said Textron was following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit social interaction and large group meetings, increasing daily cleaning of its facilities, restricting travel, and canceling “participation in several global meetings and events.”