Cessna Warns Of More Layoffs Ahead

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Cessna Aircraft Co., the nation's largest builder of corporate jets, is planning another round of layoffs and possibly more furloughs, the company said Thursday.

CEO Jack Pelton sent an e-mail to employees warning them of the coming cuts, but he did not say how many workers will lose their jobs.

"Order cancelations have not stopped. The market for new aircraft remains frozen as customers wait to see if the recovery forecasted comes to fruition," according to Pelton's letter, which was posted on The Wichita Eagle's Web site.

The company, a unit of Textron Inc., said aircraft financing remains difficult for its customers.

Cessna has laid off 44 percent of its work force since the first round of cuts was announced in November. The company employed 15,500 people last year -- including about 12,000 in Wichita -- before the economic downturn slashed global demand for corporate aircraft.

Workers will be notified about the latest cuts by June 19, said Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver. Affected employees will receive 60-day layoff notices.

Details of the production cuts and work force reductions are still being worked on, Oliver said.

The e-mail to employees reassured them that they continue to deliver new aircraft and develop new products and customer support.

"But the industry continues to struggle as the economic recovery remains very slow and the negative perception surrounding business jets creates a battle to keep our customers sold," Pelton said.

The impending job losses would come on top of the 6,900 layoffs since November.

That includes Cessna's announcement in April that it was laying off 2,300 workers across the company and closing its Bend, Ore., plant as it tries to restructure its product line amid declining plane orders.

Production of the Corvalis high-performance, single-engine planes at the Bend plant will move to the Independence facility.

Shares of Textron, based in Providence, R.I., rose 81 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $12.19 in afternoon trading.

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