On the day before the start of AOPA Expo 2008 in San Jose, another manufacturer announced production curtailments. Mooney Airplane Company spokesman Dave Franson told AVweb that production is being scaled down to balance the current inventory of unsold airplanes. The company laid off 229 of its existing 320 employees, virtually all of them on the production floor. “These are temporary adjustments and they only affect our manufacturing operations,” Franson told San Antonio Business Journal. “So our (other operations) will continue to operate normally and be staffed at the normal level. There will not be any change to existing or potential customers and we will deliver airplanes as scheduled.”
The sudden downturn in the economy is being blamed for the lack of orders and that meant the company didn’t give the workers the notice required under Texas law. “These unexpected and unforeseeable conditions are beyond Mooney Airplane Company’s control,” Gowens said in a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission. “It was impossible for Mooney Airplane Company to predict this sudden collapse in demand at the time when notice would have been required.” The factory will start up again when orders justify it, Franson said.