Hawker Beechcraft, Piper Announce Layoffs

Jim Schuster, president of Hawker Beechcraft, announced in a letter to employees last week that 2,300 can expect pink slips by the end of the year. The letter was a follow-on to a letter sent earlier warning employees of the impending job losses. He said the majority of those who will be let go will know by tomorrow. Schuster blames the worldwide recession, the crisis in credit and the recent portrayals of business aviation as an excessive luxury for the layoffs. On Tuesday, Piper Aircraft announced it was laying off 300 workers at its Vero Beach, Florida, plant effective immediately. In addition, Piper will shut down production for one week in April and another week in July to avoid excessive inventory. The shutdowns will be without pay and will affect all employees, from top management to hourly workers. Piper expressed regret for the pain the layoffs will cause and said it hopes for an increase in sales so it can rehire as many of the furloughed workers as possible, as soon as possible.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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