Cessna To Rehire 600

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Cessna is hiring about 600 workers over the next year as it gets ready for a return to business as usual. The Wichita-based plane-maker has laid off thousands of people in the last couple of years but renewed optimism and a fattened order book have it looking for staff. The company has so far this year already hired 400 people. In fact, company marketing VP Roger Whyte is calling the downturn over. He told The Wichita Eagle that sales have been good for more than a year and the order backlog is growing. The company is also updating a couple of its older-model aircraft. The CJ1 and CJ2 will get new panels and engines as part of their evolution into the CJ1+ and CJ2+. CEO Jack Pelton said the upgrades would also boost performance. Although Bombardier announced 2,000 layoffs last week, it's also upgrading one of its most popular products. The Learjet 40 will become the Learjet 40XR, with new engines delivering improved range and better performance. More important for Learjet, however, is that the announcement "exemplifies Bombardier's continued investment in our Learjet family," said Peter Edwards, president of the company's bizjet division.