Hawker Beechcraft Cuts 2,300 Jobs

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Adding to the thousands of jobs already lost over the last few weeks to aviation businesses in Wichita, Kan., Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster announced on Tuesday that at least 2,300 jobs will be cut at his company. In a letter to employees published at the local KSN.com news site, Schuster said, "We are undoubtedly facing one of the most severe tests in our company's history." He cited global economic decline as the cause of declining orders and deliveries. In addition, he said, the government's stimulus package has failed to loosen up credit markets and orders from fractional markets have declined "considerably." He also blamed "the media and some politicians" for characterizing general aviation as "a wasteful extravagance instead of a critical business tool and the source of millions of American jobs." He added that with no end in sight to global market volatility, he could offer no assurance that there won't be further reductions. Hawker is the third-largest employer in Wichita, with about 7,500 employees. The company also employs 2,000 others worldwide, to build a range of aircraft from business jets to piston singles and the T-6 military trainer.

Cessna also has recently announced layoffs of about 4,000 employees, and Boeing said last week it will cut 10,000 jobs.