Hawker Beechcraft will lay off more than half of its completion center employees in Little Rock and will close a services center in the capital city as part of a workforce reduction stemming from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Throughout multiple locations 410 employees will be affected by the layoffs, but the company is not providing a breakout by location.
In a letter from CEO Steve Miller and Chairman Bill Boisture, Hawker said the moves are aimed at making the aircraft manufacturer more “sustainable and competitive” in the future.
In mid-October, Hawker announced it would emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a standalone company and it called off a $1.79 billion merger with a Chinese aviation firm.
At the time, the company said it was implementing a business plan that focuses on its turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft – the company’s most profitable products – and on its high margin parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment businesses, all of which have high growth potential.
The company’s Little Rock facility did little in those core areas and was more well-known for its production work on high-performance business jets and its maintenance division. Hawker had disclosed that this division was a candidate for sale or closure.
The letter sent to employees on today (Nov. 7) reads:
Fellow Hawker Beechcraft Employees,
Following our recent announcement that we intend to emerge from Chapter 11 protection as a standalone company, we have begun assessing what our workforce and operational footprint will be for a sustainable and competitive future as Beechcraft Corporation.
With that in mind, we will begin the process of closing the Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) facilities in Little Rock, Ark.; Mesa, Ariz.; and San Antonio, Texas. Approximately 240 employees will be affected in these locations.
In addition, we will be implementing a reduction in force that will affect approximately 170 employees at Hawker Beechcraft Corporation in Wichita, Kan., and Little Rock. More than half of those affected are employees at our Little Rock Completions Center, where the company is finishing its remaining Hawker aircraft for customer delivery. The company already has taken a series of steps during 2012 to match its hourly employee levels to adjusted production rates.
Therefore, we expect this reduction will impact 15 or fewer bargaining unit employees.
Impacted employees at the three HBS locations will be notified the week of Nov. 12. Employees in Wichita will be notified on Friday, Nov. 9 and those at the Little Rock Completions Center on Monday, Nov. 12. Each employee will be notified of whether he/she will be required to work during all or some of the 60-day Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) period based on business needs. Human Resources leaders will be working with managers, who will inform the impacted employees.
While extremely difficult decisions, these closures and reductions in force will get the company closer to what we envision for our go-forward plan that focuses on turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft, as well as our parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment businesses.
Your continued focus on designing, manufacturing and servicing the best airplanes in the world is critical to our success, and we appreciate your continued hard work and dedication. We will continue to provide updates as we move forward.
A spokesman for Hawker Beechcraft said no further details would be provided.