UPDATE: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Hundreds of jobs are on the line as a Wichita plane maker announces the shutdown of one of its production lines.
Bombardier Learjet said Thursday it will "pause" production on its Learjet 60-XR business jet due to low demand. The company has not said exactly when it will happen, but it will affect nearly 300 employees.
"Two hundred seventy-five jobs are at risk and all avenues are being explored for those affected employees," said Peggy Gross, Manager of Public Relations and Communications for Bombardier Learjet in Wichita.
Bombardier calls the upcoming shutdown of production on the 60-XR a "pause."
"A pause really means for us a slow-down of production," Gross said. "An eventual stop of production until market conditions improve."
Gross said Bombardier has not yet set a timeline for the pause, but she said it will begin sometime before the end of this year. She said employees who will be affected were notified Thursday morning.
"We have employees that support the Learjet 60-XR in many different areas," Gross said. "In production and the support functions such as engineering and our methods planning group; our procurement group."
Employees KAKE News spoke with during a shift change Thursday afternoon said they had no comment on the announcement.
Gross said the business climate in general aviation is still unfavorable.
"For the light end of the market, it's been a tough recession and we're still struggling to get through that, but we are committed to our Learjet 70 and 75 that we recently announced in May," she said.
When asked whether any of the 275 employees affected by the pause in the 60-XR line might be moved to the 70 and 75 lines, Gross said that is a possibility being considered.
"We are very committed to our employees and we're also very committed to supporting these aircraft," she said. "Especially those 60s that are already in service with customers."
Gross could not say when employees who currently work on the 60-XR will learn whether they will still have a job with Learjet.
Deliveries of the 60-XR will continue until 2013 and the company will decide during the shutdown what will happen next.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Bombardier Learjet has announced plans to pause the Learjet 60 production line.
Peggy Gross, company spokeswoman, said a pause is not a suspension on the line. She said production can resume if sales improve.
However, Gross said 275 jobs could be affected by this decision. Learjet is looking at other avenues for the employees, such as expansion plans and other business jet lines.
The "pause" date has not been set.