Cessna Aircraft Cuts 665 Jobs

Aircraft company announced Wednesday it is cutting 665 jobs in Kansas and Oregon because of the global economic downturn.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Cessna Aircraft Co. announced Wednesday it is cutting 665 jobs in Kansas and Oregon because of the global economic downturn.

Spokesman Doug Oliver said 500 layoffs will be made at Cessna's 12,000-employee Wichita plant, which builds the company's larger jets.

The other 165 cuts will occur at the Bend, Ore., plant, which has 460 employees producing a high-performance, single piston aircraft. Cessna and its parent company Textron Inc. acquired the plant from Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Co. in December 2007 for $26.4 million.

No layoffs are planned at the Independence, Kan., plant that makes Cessna's popular, entry-level Citation Mustang jet, Oliver said.

Wichita-based Cessna had warned employees earlier this month to expect layoffs, which Oliver said will be made across the board.

"Everybody has just been waiting on some determination on numbers -- which is what we saw today," Oliver said.

The large number of layoffs triggered a federal law requiring a 60-day notification period, meaning the cuts won't take effect until late January or early February.

Cessna also offered a voluntary layoff program beginning immediately for any employees who want it. The severance package would be the same under the voluntary and involuntary layoffs.

Cessna will also begin its annual holiday shutdown a few days earlier than usual in December.

"The future is bright -- it is just a short-term thing," Oliver said. "Customers are coming up and saying, 'I need to defer delivery of my airplane.' They are not canceling, they are deferring."

Cessna said earlier this month that total deliveries in 2009 will rise slightly from 2008, but not as much as earlier expected. Cessna had previously targeted 535 Citation aircraft for delivery in 2009, compared with 475 this year.

Another Wichita aircraft maker -- Hawker Beechcraft -- announced nearly 500 job cuts earlier this month.

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