Cessna to cut 700 jobs at Wichita plant

-- Sept. 22--Cessna Aircraft told employees Tuesday that the company will cut 700 jobs -- 11 percent of its work force -- as weakness in new aircraft orders continues. The layoffs will come from the company's hourly and salaried...

Cessna recorded a loss of $21 million in the first half of 2010 on sales of $1.07 billion, down from a profit of $138 million on sales of $1.64 billion a year earlier.

It ended the quarter with a $3.7 billion order backlog, down $400 million from the end of the first quarter.

Robert Stallard, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said in a report to investors that downward adjustments to the production line should be expected because of the recent buildup of white tails -- or planes without customers -- at Cessna.

Business jet production may not make a meaningful recovery until 2012, he said.

"We think it is better to take action now versus oversupplying the market in the long run," Stallard said. "Aggressive cost actions and productivity improvement at the trough should help boost margins when volumes return."

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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