In an effort to remain viable and avoid further layoffs, Piper Aircraft has announced that it will close for a week in May and another week in June, in addition to two weeks announced previously. "These shutdowns will be without pay and will affect all employees in the company, from executive management to hourly manufacturing employees," Piper spokesman Mark Miller said in a statement released Monday. "We realize and regret the impact that this has on our employees and are doing everything possible to preserve the 650 jobs Piper continues to provide. Piper is focused on taking all necessary actions to weather the current downturn in such a way that we will be positioned for growth when the economy improves," he said. The two-week shutdown will reduce inventory as well as curtail expenses. Miller said the company is pleased that the new federal stimulus package includes a provision for bonus depreciation and believes that it will help facilitate a market recovery. "We are, however, still deeply concerned about high inventory levels of new and used aircraft, lack of available credit and the overall continued decline in consumer confidence," he said.
In data released last week by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Piper was the only one of the main piston manufacturers whose deliveries were higher last year than the year before, growing from 221 in 2007 to 268 in 2008, driven by the popularity of the Matrix six-seat piston single. Miller spoke recently with a local radio station about the company's situation, you can listen to that two-part interview online at Piper's Web site.