Eclipse Lays Off Workers

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Eclipse Aerospace laid off "several" workers from its plant in Albuquerque last week. "I've had much better days," Eclipse Aerospace Senior Vice President Ed Lundeen told Albuquerque Business First on Friday. "The bottom line is that the market has not recovered yet. We're not seeing the sales we planned for," he said. Lundeen told AVweb in an email on Tuesday the staff reduction was "primarily related to new aircraft production." He added: "Although global market conditions continue to improve, the pace of economic improvement continues to challenge new GA aircraft sales. Eclipse Aerospace has aligned its production workforce to build aircraft based on current orders. Our MRO operations (upgrades, mods, parts, etc.) continue at a robust pace and we are building new Eclipse 550 aircraft, albeit at a slower pace."

Eclipse has not reported the number of jobs affected, but a city official said the layoff "wasn't big enough" to trigger payback of more than a half-million dollars in state and local development funding that was granted to the company last year. However, the company may lose a discount on its rental of city property at the Albuquerque airport, which is granted only when they are "actively hiring."

"We just wish there were more people that are wanting to buy aircraft," Lundeen said. The company has sold 10 of the all-new Eclipse 550 jets, he said. "As a result of that, we've had to realign our production forecast. We're building less airplanes, and we need fewer human resources." Workers in Chicago and Charleston also were affected, Lundeen said. "It's a painful event we're going through. We have to keep our costs in line so we have a sustainable business model." He added that the company is "prepared to scale our operations upward as market conditions (and aircraft orders) dictate." Eclipse started deliveries of its all-new 550 jet in March. The company also provides upgrades, support and remanufacturing for the original Eclipse jet fleet.