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Thu, Oct 30, 2008

Cirrus Announces Second Round Of Layoffs

Plants Adopt Three-Day Work Week On Slowed Production

Things are tough all over right now, thanks to the floundering US economy... and best-selling aircraft manufacturer Cirrus Design is feeling the sting. The company handed out pink slips to 105 workers Tuesday, one month after the Duluth, MN-based planemaker eliminated around 100 positions.

WDIO-10 in Duluth reports 75 workers were cut from Cirrus' headquarters and main assembly plant, in a move company president Brett Wouters says will ultimately help Cirrus become a more efficient operation.

"We definitely let go a lot of good people and we eliminated a lot of positions," said Wouters. "For the business, the business over the long haul can't support that number of positions or we don't--we're not willing to support it with the cash flow that we want to achieve."

Cirrus' SR20 and SR22 aircraft families have been the top-sellers in the category for the past six years... but sales have fallen off by roughly 10 percent this year, which led to cutbacks in production. The company recently implemented a three-day work week -- down from four -- and has also slowed development of its SRS light-sport aircraft, which is largely based on a design sourced from Poland's FK Lightplanes.

The latest round of layoffs accounted for close to 10 percent of the company's workforce, according to The Associated Press.

While acknowledging current economic strife is largely to blame for the layoffs, Wouters also said the job cuts are part of an overall drive by Cirrus to streamline its operations.

"We have a very good work force obviously of more than a hundred people -- we're very attuned to making airplanes and the kind of work we need to do to support our customers in the field," Wouters said. "I really don't believe it will have any impact -- again, it's part of a longer strategy, and if I thought that, we wouldn't have made the adjustments -- it's not about the short term demand."

Development continues on the upcoming SJ50 Vision single-engine jet (above), Wouters added.



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