Other OEMs Share Fiscal Pain

Over the past six weeks, most major general aviation aircraft manufacturers have been forced to scale back operations based on the current international fiscal crisis. Mooney Airplane Company will now build new aircraft only as they are ordered; and factory workers have been sent home until enough new orders come in (service and support employees remain on the job). Cessna has announced it will lay off 500 workers in Wichita and 165 in Bend, Oregon, where it builds the Cessna (formerly Columbia) 350 and 400. Hawker Beechcraft will terminate 490 workers in Wichita; and both Cirrus Design and Piper Aircraft have announced reduced work weeks to cut back on expenses without sacrificing jobs. In Cirrus' case, the company plans to continue to produce 12 aircraft per week, even with the reduced hours. History has shown that success for a manufacturer in the general aviation industry is dependent on its ability to judiciously adjust production levels in hard times and avoid overexpansion of production facilities and staff during times of high demand.

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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