Piper Reduces Work Schedules

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Piper Aircraft, in Vero Beach, Fla., is not immune to the market pressures that have been bearing down on the GA industry, and this week the company said it has instituted a reduced work schedule for some departments. "Our efforts are designed to maintain as many jobs (and associated benefits) as possible," Piper spokesman Mark Miller wrote to AVweb via e-mail on Tuesday. "We remain concerned about the turmoil and volatility in the world's financial markets," Miller added. "In accordance with normal seasonality and softening market demand, Piper continually assesses and adjusts its workforce and schedule." The company normally shuts down briefly around the holidays, he said, and this year will close most departments for three weeks. According to the Palm Beach Post, in recent years the holiday shutdown has been only one or two weeks long. Although the company has not announced any layoffs or staff cuts, one worker told the local TCPalm news site that her job was eliminated, along with about 20 others.

Meanwhile, a recent report from PMI Media in the United Kingdom predicts that the current economic turmoil will have a dramatic impact on the VLJ market. "Prospects for the very light jet (VLJ) market for the next 10 years (2008 to 2017) have declined sharply over the last few weeks," PMI said last week. "Given the current difficult market circumstances it is difficult to see how more than one or two new aircraft entrants -- outside established aircraft manufacturers such as Embraer, Diamond, PiperJet, Cessna -- will be able to survive a prolonged period of market uncertainty," said PMI-Media's editorial director Philip Butterworth-Hayes.

In its latest study, "The Very Light Jet Market 2008-2017: The impact of the global financial crisis", which was released after the announcement by Eclipse Aviation that it had filed for bankruptcy, PMI Media is forecasting the delivery of 4,610 VLJs, worth around $9.54 billion in 2008 prices, between 2008-2017. This is some 1,360 fewer aircraft than in the previous forecast released in October 2008. PMI tracks the VLJ market through analyzing supplier order backlogs and purchasing trends by air-taxi, corporate and individual aircraft operators.