Pratt & Whitney Laying Off 350 Workers

Company spokeswoman says the jet-engine manufacturer is laying off about 350 salaried employees across the country, with most of the cuts coming in Connecticut.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney laid off about 350 salaried employees across the country on Wednesday in response to a slowing global economy, with most of the cuts coming in Connecticut.

The job cuts will impact less than 1 percent of the company's work force of more than 38,000 employees, and will take effect immediately, Jennifer Whitlow, a spokeswoman said.

Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., supplies both military and commercial jet engines for products such as Boeing Co.'s 747 and 777, as well as the Airbus A300, among many others. It also builds engines for Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-22 fighter jet and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

About 280 of the layoffs will occur at the company's Connecticut operations. The remaining 70 will affect employees in 12 other states including Maine and Texas. Those cuts will affect a myriad of salaried positions including administrative assistants, engineers and accountants, Whitlow said.

The decision is intended to keep the company's cost structure competitive as worsening economic conditions continue to negatively impact the aerospace industry.

"The economy has without a doubt impacted the global aerospace market," said Whitlow. "Airlines are looking to reduce cost structure and we are part of that value chain."

Several U.S. airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc., have promised or hinted they will cut domestic and international capacity further in 2009. On Tuesday, Delta, the world's biggest carrier, suggested more job cuts could be on the way as it disclosed it would reduce consolidated system capacity by 6 percent to 8 percent in 2009, compared with the current year.

In October, United Airlines, the nation's third-largest carrier, also said it expects its overall capacity to shrink 8 percent to 9 percent during 2009.

Earlier this year, United Technologies Chief Financial Officer Gregory Hayes told analysts, he expected the slowing global economies and the credit crisis to have an impact on business operations in 2009. Among those areas likely to be hurt included Pratt's aerospace parts and servicing markets.

Outside of job cuts, Pratt has taken other additional cost-cutting measures, including restricting hires to critical positions and working with suppliers to trim expenses.

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