Air Capital Aviation Report: January 18, 2009

Carl ChanceBy Carl Chance, Wings Over Kansas’ aviation & aerospace correspondent, former news consultant and producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.

Boeing Wichita Integrated Defense Systems Expecting Layoffs, Restructuring.

The Boeing Company announced plans to cut approximately 800 positions at its Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita during 2009. Boeing attributes the reductions to the end of some programs and the delay in the U.S. Air Force tanker-replacement program. The layoffs will impact managers and both salaried and hourly workers.

Boeing delivered 60-day layoff notices to approximately 76 employees on Friday, Nov. 21st, 2008. Their last day of work was to be scheduled for mid-January. The company will deliver the balance of the layoff notices throughout 2009, with most occurring in the first half of the year.

"We regret the need to reduce employment. We understand the disruptions that layoffs cause in personal lives and in our community," said Scott Strode, vice president and general manager of Boeing Wichita. "However, a combination of events are limiting our business options and forcing us to reduce our current employee total. We also are taking steps to restructure our business in order to lower our rates and become more affordable for customers."

Boeing Wichita in 2008 employed approximately 3,000 people who work on a variety of programs, including Global Transport & Executive Systems programs for the U.S. executive fleet, B-52/Refueling Systems Support, 767 International Tanker, Mission Planning, engineering support for Airborne Laser and 747-8, and Integrated Logistics Support.

"Our goal is to place more work in Wichita, but while we seek new business, it is vital for the future health of Boeing Wichita that we address our current business realities," said Strode.

Boeing will help as many affected employees as possible find jobs at other Boeing locations. The company also will provide resume-writing assistance and job-hunting workshops.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Employment to Decline in 2009.

Boeing issued a statement that employment at its Commercial Airplanes business unit in Seattle is expected to decline by approximately 4,500 positions in 2009 as part of an effort to ensure competitiveness and control costs in the face of a weakening global economy.

The reduction will bring Commercial Airplanes’ employment to approximately 63,500, similar to the level it was at the start of 2008.

"We are taking prudent actions to make sure Boeing remains well positioned in today’s difficult economic environment," said Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Many of the job reductions will be in overhead functions and other areas not directly associated with airplane production. This will enable Boeing to continue focusing on successfully executing new airplane development programs, delivering airplanes to customers, continuously improving productivity and quality, and support customer airplanes in the fleet.

Most of the reductions are expected to occur in Washington State in the second quarter of the year. Affected employees will receive 60-day notices beginning in late February. Boeing will support laid-off employees with layoff benefits and career-transition services.

Commercial Airplanes began 2008 employing more than 63,000 people (including contract labor) and increased employment to nearly 68,000 by year-end.

Despite Downturn, Cessna Remains Focused on New Product Development.

Cessna Aircraft Company continues to move forward on new product development projects including the Citation Columbus, the Citation CJ4 and the Model 162 SkyCatcher, while anticipating job cuts of approximately 2000 employees in 2009.

"Despite the uncertainty of the world’s economic environment, we believe it is critical that we not compromise our future. Our new product development programs are proceeding on schedule," said Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton. "We remain committed to investing in these programs, whether it is in aircraft development, facility construction or ensuring we have the people resources to meet our schedule."

The Citation Columbus was formally launched about one year ago and is planned to enter service with customers in 2014. The Citation CJ4, the newest member of the popular CJ series of light business jets, is well into certification testing and is expected to enter service early next year. The 162 SkyCatcher Light Sport Aircraft is nearing final ASTM compliance certification and deliveries are planned to begin later this year.

Cessna Debuts 350 Corvalis and 400 Corvalis TT

Cessna Aircraft Company introduced the 350 Corvalis and 400 Corvalis TT during this year’s annual sales meeting in Wichita.

The Cessna 350 Corvalis and 400 Corvalis TT (twin turbocharged), formerly the Cessna 350 and Cessna 400 respectively, have been renamed as part of Cessna’s acquisition of certain assets from Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 2007.

At a maximum cruise speed of 235 knots, the Cessna 400 Corvalis TT is the fastest fixed-gear single-engine piston aircraft on the market. Equipped with a 310-horsepower Teledyne Continental TCM IO-550N, the Cessna 350 Corvalis has a certified ceiling of 18,000 feet and a maximum cruise speed of 190 knots. The twin turbocharger equipped, intercooled TCM TSIO-550C installed in the Cessna 400 Corvalis TT enables it to cruise as high as 25,000 feet while its pilot and passengers enjoy the convenience of the 400’s standard 4-place, built-in oxygen system.