Sino Swearingen Defends Layoffs

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It's been a tough month for Martinsburg because Tiger's neighbor, Sino Swearingen, has announced that 50 employees at its SJ30 fuselage and wing plant in the West Virginia plant are being laid off, along with 100 at the main assembly plant in San Antonio. The announcement came about six weeks after the company said it would build a huge new plant and hire another 850 workers in San Antonio. The company's CFO Kelly Simmons said the layoffs are "a bump in the road" and Sino Swearingen remains committed to building the 300 jets it has on order. "It just looks bad more than anything," Simmons told the San Antonio Express-News. "What this is, frankly, it's the life of a startup business and the beginning of a mass production process. These are issues that are typical of setting that up." The other bump in Sino Swearingen's road is that $2.5 million in grants and a 10-year tax holiday offered by the state and local governments won't materialize until and unless the company makes good on its construction and employment promises. Last June 29, Sino Swearingen pledged to spend $20 million on a 220,000-sqaure-foot building in San Antonio and another $50 million on parts and supplies. The speedy SJ30 was certified earlier this year and if it makes it to market will be the first start-up bizjet company to do so in 40 years.