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Cessna Says More Layoffs Coming

Aircraft maker is warning workers that more layoffs and cutbacks are coming as its customers cancel and defer plane orders.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Cessna Aircraft Co. warned workers Tuesday that more layoffs are coming as its customers cancel and defer plane orders.

The extent of the latest round of layoffs and production cuts won't be announced until April 29, when its parent company releases its first-quarter earnings report, said Robert Stangarone, a spokesman for Wichita-based Cessna.

Since November, Cessna has slashed 4,600 jobs, including 4,000 in Wichita.

The new reductions will affect all Cessna production facilities and will extend across the company and across all pay categories, Stangarone said.

Cessna is also planning a two-week shutdown from July 6-17, up from the usual one-week shutdown the company typically takes around that time each year.

In an e-mail to employees announcing the upcoming layoffs, CEO Jack Pelton said in recent weeks experts have pointed to signs in the economy that seem to indicate the global economic crisis may be approaching the bottom. He noted a trend of consecutive stock market increases, favorable indicators in the housing market and retail sales and optimistic predictions by the Federal Reserve that the recession could end later this year.

"We take hope in all this, though it is tempered when the focus returns to our business and our industry, which historically lags well behind the economic cycle," Pelton wrote.

Cessna continues to see a slowdown despite a number of orders in recent months.

"Financing continues to be problematic for many customers," he said. "Their economic health may have stabilized, but their decision to take delivery of the jet they ordered two years ago now hinges on increased profitability which is still some time away."

Cessna said it was working as hard as possible to minimize the impact on employees.

Cessna, the nation's largest manufacturer of general aviation aircraft, employs about 15,000 people worldwide, including 12,000 in Wichita.

Pelton's memo came after Censsa's parent company, Providence, R.I.-based Textron Inc., announced it was cutting production at its Cessna and industrial business units. Textron also reiterated its 2009 cash outlook, saying it expects to end the first quarter with more than $1 billion in cash.

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