Hawker Beechcraft has issued pink slips to 170 hourly and salary workers as the bankrupt company continues exclusive talks with Chinese-based Superior Aviation regarding a potential sale of the storied American manufacturer.
The layoff notices – which gave the affected employees 60 days notice – were issued to workers at Hawker Beechcraft’s Little Rock facility on Thursday. Despite the loss of employees, the manufacturing plant will remain open.
The notices come as federal officials and union members try to fight an executive bonus plan that could give eight members amongst Hawker Beechcraft’s top leadership a total of $5.3 million in additional payouts, if approved.
The bankruptcy court – which recently okayed $1.9 million in bonuses for 31 Hawker Beechcraft managers – is currently evaluating the plan.
Beechcraft and Superior continue to hammer out details of what could be a $1.8 billion sale of the company, a deal that doesn’t include the acquisition of Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co.
Even if the sale does go through, the bankruptcy court will still hold an auction for the company in an attempt to garner higher bidders. Other companies, including industry giant Cessna, have previously expressed interest in Hawker Beechcraft.
If the sale to Superior falls by the wayside after the 45-day exclusivity period, Beechcraft will proceed with its original bankruptcy plan, which intends for the manufacturer to stay an independent entity.