Textron announces layoffs in Wichita

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 8:12 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Textron Aviation laid off around 800 workers this morning (Tuesday, July 14). Most of those workers were employed at facilities in Wichita.

The company says it is adjusting to “evolving global economic uncertainty and existing market conditions.”

The layoffs included bargained employees.

The company also says there will be additional periodic furloughs in some functional areas throughout 2020.

We have heard from a number of Textron employees who say they saw several workers ushered out the door Tuesday morning.

While commercial aircraft manufacturing companies like Spirit AeroSystems suffer from lower air travel and empty flights, aviation expert Richard Aboulafia said private air travel is only down by about 30 percent. He said commercial manufacturers won’t begin to recover until a COVID-19 vaccine is available and flights again fill up. But for private manufacturers, it all depends on what happens in the common months.

‘When corporate profits fall, as they probably will, and look like they’re about to, and the economy continues to take a hit, well inevitably, private-jet demand is going to fall too,” Aboulafia said. “So you’re going to watch production members, sales members fall. And that’s what explains these layoffs.”

He said the layoffs we’ve seen at Textron in Wichita are likely in preparation for an economic decline. He said the best-case scenario would be for corporate profits to hold up better than expected so private-jet demand doesn’t fall even more.

Historically, Aboulafia said it takes about two years for companies like Textron to recover when the economy struggles. But he expects the private aviation market to recover much sooner than commercial aviation since it’s less reliant on a COVID-19 vaccine.

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