Cessna Aircraft Co., the nation’s largest builder of corporate jets, is laying off 2,300 workers and closing its Oregon plant as it restructures its product line amid declining plane orders, the company’s CEO, Jack Pelton, told employees on April 29. In addition, Cessna is discontinuing development of its Columbus business jets, built in Wichita.
Cessna has laid off 44% of its work force since the first round of cuts was announced in November. The company employed 15,500 people last year, before the economic downturn slashed global demand for corporate aircraft, it said.
The Wichita-based company started laying off 1,600 hourly workers across the company the same day. An additional 700 salaried workers will lose their jobs in mid-June, and a companywide, four-week shutdown starts June 22, Pelton said.
Of the hourly jobs being cut, 1,300 will be in Wichita and 121 will be from Cessna’s manufacturing plant in Independence, Kansas. Most of the 700 salaried jobs will come from Wichita, the company said.
Pelton also said that Cessna is closing its plant in Bend, Oregon, affecting 109 jobs, although many of those workers may be offered jobs elsewhere. Production of Corvalis high-performance, single-engine planes at the Bend plant will be moved to the Independence facility, Pelton said. Cessna and its parent company, Textron Inc., acquired the plant from Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Co. in December of 2007 for $26.4 million.
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