Big Layoffs at Bell Helicopter

Bell Helicopter is cutting another 1,100 jobs from its overall workforce as global demand for helicopters softens.

The Fort Worth, Texas, company said it made its decision to cut staff because the commercial helicopter market has not rebounded as expected. In an email to employees, Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said the helicopter maker must aggressively reduce its costs after scaling back its sales forecast and reducing production volume to meet the weakened demand.

"We must take immediate and aggressive measures across the business to bring costs in line with current and projected business requirements and size our organization for our market reality," he wrote.

Parent company Textron blamed Bell's woes on lingering weakness in the medium helicopter market, due in part to economic challenges in the oil and gas sectors.

But Textron CEO Scott Donnelly said he sees the reversal of fortunes at Bell as temporary.

"We believe the growth outlook at Bell over the next several years remains strong driven by our expanded global commercial sales efforts, recent commercial product upgrades, new commercial products on the way and foreign military opportunities," he told analysts yesterday.

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