Cessna's Caravan Line Feeling The Slump

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Like most aircraft manufacturers, Cessna Aircraft Co. is experiencing a tough time for sales, and that translates to not enough work to go around. All production workers on the company's turboprop Caravan line will be furloughed for three weeks in May, and 125 jobs will be cut, The Wichita Eagle reported this week. The cutbacks follow a round of 1,200 jobs lost in February and about 800 last October. Cessna built 80 Caravans last year, and expects to sell fewer in 2003, though no numbers were available. Turboprops suffered the biggest drop in sales last year of all aircraft types monitored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Only 280 turboprops were sold in 2002, compared to 421 in 2001, a decline of 34 percent. Sales of single-engine pistons, bizjets, and piston twins all declined by about 12 percent.