Piper Reports Growth

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Piper Aircraft hired more than 300 employees in the last 18 months, a 20 percent increase in staffing, the company has reported. The growth is driven by increased demand for Piper’s trainer airplanes and its M-class line. The M-class single-engine turboprops — the M600 and M500 — and the piston-powered M350 were certified in 2016. “With aircraft orders in place for 2018 and several long-term contracts for trainer aircraft, the near-term forecast is stable,” said CEO Simon Caldecott. “Additionally, our commitment to a level-loaded, build-to-order business model further enhances stability and creates consistent workload for the team.” The company now has more than 900 workers at its headquarters in Vero Beach, Florida.

The growth is a turnaround from just a couple of years ago, when Piper was laying off workers, citing slow sales in overseas markets. In July 2015, Piper announced a layoff of 150 workers, from a staff of 750. “Piper Aircraft has experienced steady recovery since 2009; however, we are facing challenges and economic instability in several key regions of the world, including Asia, parts of Europe and Latin America,” Caldecott said at the time. The latest GAMA numbers, reflecting sales from January through September 2017, show year-to-date deliveries of 99 airplanes for Piper, including 36 M-class aircraft.

Comments (4)

1,800 employees to build 120 airplanes per year??? That works out to 30,000 man-hours per airplane. Something is very wrong with this picture. Even at minimum wage, just do the math...

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | January 2, 2018 7:31 AM    Report this comment

I agree with Tom, piper either leveraged their projections and sales to date to acquire investment capital for mostly trainer airplanes now( which does not really make sense for the long term) while silently moving to renewing their need to have a product to compete with cessna's share of the jet market,and rebuild their market share in order to secure the company's future. With only the Baron and seneca remaining as piston driven twins for both companies, the only way piper could survive is to make this move. It want be to long before students will start their training in jet powered aircraft..

Posted by: Allen Churchwell | January 2, 2018 11:08 AM    Report this comment

Where did you get an employment number of 1800? In 2015 they downsized to 600, adding 300 to that comes out to 900.

Posted by: J Walker | January 2, 2018 11:23 AM    Report this comment

The number was derived using information cited in the first sentence of Grady's article: "Piper Aircraft hired more than 300 employees in the last 18 months, a 20 percent increase in staffing."
300 is 20% of 1,500. 1,500 plus 300 equals 1,800.

If Mary had said "a 50% increase in staffing," I'd have come up with 900 employees. Maybe that's the actual situation. I have no idea how many employees actually work at Piper; how many are full- or part-time.

IF the number is 900, then they're consuming ONLY 15,000 man-hours per manufactured aircraft. That's still an absurd figure in the 21st century. Given that Piper purchases engines, propellers, tires, avionics, and a plethora of other components, it's hard to see how the most-gifted accountant on the planet can accomplish the legerdemain that it must take to show a profit. Add that mystery to the LONG list of things that I don't understand.

But I am starting to understand how a new Archer can cost three-quarters of a million bucks.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | January 2, 2018 12:57 PM    Report this comment

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