Layoffs Begin at Hawker Beechcraft

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Layoffs have begun at Wichita's Hawker Beechcraft plant. KAKE News first told you on Monday that the company would cut its workforce by five percent.

The meltdown on world financial markets is coming to Wichita, with layoff notices going out.

"It's tense inside," says one employee. "People are wondering what's going to happen."

What's happening is a large layoff of aircraft workers since the last recession following the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001.

"It's like a skeleton crew in our department," says another employee. "We're just hoping for the best."

Monday, company chairman and CEO Jim Shuster told employees in a letter the company was facing serious challenges due to the worldwide economic decline. Shuster said the decline in wealth and available credit is directly affecting customer's ability to purchase aircraft.

Shuster says Hawker Beechcraft is forced to make workforce reductions. The cuts will amount to nearly 500 employees.

"It was worse than what we thought it was going to be," said Linda Courtney, another employee. "Some people have gotten it that have been here 13 years and we never thought they'd be out the door."

A Hawker Beechcraft spokesman says the company will not make any statements about the layoffs in respect to their employees.

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