...While OMF Halts Production In Quebec

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OMFAircraft, manufacturer of the two-seat Symphony 160 (with plans to introduce a diesel version and later a four-place), has laid off its production workers and halted the production line at its Quebec manufacturing plant, the company said yesterday in a statement, but added that the halt is expected to be temporary. The Quebec plant opened less than two months ago. "GmbH (the German parent company) is experiencing financial challenges," the company said, and "the new North American company, OMF Aircraft, is also experiencing challenges as it starts up its operations." The flow of parts to OMF Aircraft has been interrupted, so the workforce has been cut from 23 down to eight. The staff still on board are the management team and product support personnel. The company said it hopes to resolve its financing issues soon and then recall its workers about eight weeks later. "Product support continues to be a priority," the company said. The primary focus of the staff that remains, the company said, is to resolve the financial situation and support the products, while they also continue to establish the North American parts supplier base. OMF will also continue to work on the two new aircraft in development, the Symphony 135D diesel and the four-place Symphony 250. The 250 is scheduled for its first flight in the first quarter of 2004, and OMF spokesman Bill Sprague told AVweb yesterday that expectation remains in place. OMF had planned to transfer most of its manufacturing processes from Germany to Quebec by early next year. The 37,500-square-foot facility has the capacity to produce about 10 aircraft per month.