As the aviation industry continues to feel the impact of a reeling global economy, Hawker Beechcraft told its employees this week that 490 jobs will be cut, reducing the company's global work force of over 9,700 by about 5 percent. "While these reductions are painful, they are absolutely necessary," Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster said Monday in a letter to employees, according to the Wichita Eagle. The company is facing "serious challenges" due to "unprecedented worldwide economic decline," Schuster said. On Tuesday, the company said in a news release that it expects reduced demand for new aircraft, spares and maintenance services due to the "weakness in the global economy and overall economic outlook." The company's performance this year also was impacted by a four-week strike in August by the by the International Association of Machinists, which resulted in fewer deliveries of business and general aviation aircraft.
During that quarter, the company delivered 86 aircraft, compared to 106 during the same period in 2007. "This was a difficult quarter as the reduced aircraft deliveries impacted our financial results significantly," Schuster said.