Cessna Citations scattered in and around Cessna’s maintenance hangar in Wichita (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ian McMurtry)

Textron Furloughs 7,000, Axes Production Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Textron Aviation is now the latest aerospace company to announce its plan for the next few months as the COVID-19 scenario continues to grab hold of the American economy. The company, which owns firms such as Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker and Bell Helicopter, announced that it will furlough roughly 7,000 employees for four weeks.  

The furloughs are targeted mostly at U.S.-based workers and will be staggered between the weeks of March 23 and May 29. The company did not confirm which professions or firms are expected to take a larger percentage of the four-week hiatus. In its last annual report, Textron reported having 35,000 employees.

A statement from Textron specifically blamed coronavirus for the furloughs, saying, “This decision will allow us to do our part in mitigating and containing the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, while continuing to support our customers. As tough as this situation is, the safety and well-being of our employees and customers remains our top priority.”

The Wichita-based company also mentions how it has taken control of the situation and implemented steps to limit the spread of the virus by limiting travel and cleaning facilities. The company is also obeying Sedgwick County’s measures of containing the pandemic, which includes banning over 50 person congregations. At the time of writing, Kansas had 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Outside of personnel, Textron will also slow production of its factory lines. The move to slow production is planned to both meet the drop in demand for new jets in the current market and the scaling back of on-site workers over the next few weeks.

The furloughs come less than a year since Wichita’s second-largest employer’s last layoff. In December, the aircraft manufacturer terminated roughly 800 positions as the company was downsizing some of its professional departments. The company has produced the Cessna Citation Latitude and Longitude over the last few years but did not need the extra positions following the completion of those flight test programs.

Ian McMurtry
Ian McMurtry
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