Cessna Juggles Orders And Jobs


Citation Orders On A Roll …

Cessna Logo

Cessna sales execs are patting each other on the back after the company took 373 orders for its new bizjets — the Citation Mustang and the Citation CJ3 — during the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) annual convention a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, Cessna says its jet-production capacity has already met its number for 2002 with 300 deliveries scheduled. Even better, Cessna says it is well on its way to next year’s semi-ambitious mark with orders currently on the books for 70 percent of what the company predicted it would accomplish in 2003, according to a report in The Wichita Eagle.

… With Cessna Delivering Its 200th Citation X …

On October 14, Cessna celebrated the delivery of the 200th Citation X. The jet was delivered to NetJets Inc., the largest Citation X operator in the world. In a press release, Roger Whyte, Cessna senior vice president of sales and marketing, said, “The Citation X is an ideal aircraft for their customers because of its unmatched speed and economical capabilities.” NetJets currently has 60 Citation Xs in service, which travel more miles every day than any other model in their fleet. Most recently, NetJets placed an order for 12 additional Citation Xs at the NBAA convention.

… But Job Picture Looks Bleak

Pink Slip

While the champagne corks pop at headquarters, things don’t look quite so rosy to the 400 Cessna employees who got their pink slips about the same time the company announced business was booming. Even considering the good news regarding the new bizjet orders, business, according to Cessna, will drop about 15 percent in 2003 and 2004 from current levels. In June, Cessna said it hoped to reduce its workforce by about 900 people, or 6.9 percent of its worldwide work force of 13,000, through voluntary buyouts.

“We have diligently worked to avoid reductions,” Cessna Spokesperson Jessica Myers told AVweb. “We have taken a lot of steps to do that — including no hire, attrition, voluntary separations, reducing overhead expenses, and even with those steps we just haven’t been able to reduce our workforce enough so it is in alignment with the production schedule for 2003.”

Cessna said the layoffs will come in the next 30 days, on top of another 400 job cuts achieved through their voluntary separation package. The company did not say whether it planned more reductions to meet the 900-job goal set earlier this year.

“We are still watching the economy and order intake and trying to monitor it,” Myers said. “The announcement we made today is to help align our current production rate with our work force.”

Earlier this year, Cessna cut 350 jobs at its Independence, Kan., plant where it manufactures single-engine planes.