Cirrus Cuts Staff, But Company Strong, Says CEO

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Cirrus Aircraft laid off another 10 percent of its production employees Wednesday but CEO Brent Wouters said the reduction was anticipated and is not indicative of deeper trouble for the company. Wouters said the 58 workers who were "adjusted out" were retained in an earlier round of layoffs in anticipation of production increases resulting from some institutional sales of aircraft. The sales didn't materialize so the extra staff weren't needed, he said. "When production increases we'll bring them back," he said. Cirrus now employs about 550 people on the production floor. Wouters said a stabilizing market, along with aggressive cost cutting by the company has put Cirrus in relatively good shape and the focus is preparing for a return to more normal market conditions. Cirrus sent a memo to staff (PDF) outlining the company's position and offering a glimpse at the coming year.

In the memo, Wouters says company earnings have increased 65 percent since last March and revenue per delivery has increased 15 percent thanks to popular options like flight into known icing (FIKI) and new panel products. In the meantime, fixed costs have dropped by half and inventory is down 58 percent. As he said in an AVweb podcast last week, progress on the SF50 jet is slowed by a lack of investment capital but work is continuing on the project. He also indicated he believes the worst is over. "Now that the business climate has stabilized and begun to improve, let's leave behind the challenges of 2009 and move forward into 2010 with a growing sense of optimisim," he wrote.