Hawker Beechcraft Announces 2,300 Layoffs

WICHITA, KS -- Airplane maker Hawker Beechcraft Corp. told employees Tuesday that 2,300 of them will lose their jobs before the end of the year and warned more layoffs may be coming.

In a letter to workers, Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Schuster says most laid off workers will be notified by Friday. Nearly 500 Hawker Beechcraft workers also lost their jobs late last year.

In addition to declining orders and deliveries, the Wichita-based company is facing a host of new challenges, says Schuster.

"The government's stimulus package has failed to sufficiently loosen credit markets, which are absolutely vital to the success of HBC and our industry," he says.

Orders have slowed considerably in previously high-volume business segments, such as its fractional market, a timeshare-style arrangement for jet ownership.

"The media and some politicians have cast general aviation as a wasteful extravagance instead of a critical business tool and the source of millions of American jobs," says Schuster.

Hawker Beechcraft had about 9,800 employees, including about 7,000 at its Wichita plant, when it announced its first round of layoffs last year. The company also has operations in Salina, KS; Little Rock, AR; Mexico, and the United Kingdom.