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Furloughs planned for 240 Hawker Beechcraft workers

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at 7:08 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at 7:08 a.m.

Hawker Beechcraft plans to put into place rolling furloughs for about 240 hourly employees working on T-6 and AT-6 production.

The furloughs will likely be in one- or two-week increments and total several weeks throughout the year, said company spokeswoman Nicole Alexander.

“They’re determining how many … increments they need to do throughout the year to get things matched up” to production, Alexander said.

The company continues to build and deliver T-6 military trainers to the U.S. government as part of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training Systems contract.

It’s currently in negotiations with the government for the next lot of airplanes — Lot 19. Under the JPATS contract, each lot is negotiated separately.

“Normally, the Lot 19 negotiation more typically would already be wrapped up by this point,” Alexander said. The company was to begin building those planes this year.

“It would be normal for us to be negotiating Lot 20 now and putting that into the schedule,” she said. “Ideally, Lot 19 negotiations would have been wrapped up some time ago.”

The pricing for the next lot of airplanes is a main piece of the negotiations, she said.

In the meantime, the company continues to build planes under Lot 18. The number of planes in a lot varies, Alexander said.

Alexander said she could not speculate on why negotiations are behind schedule.

“The conversations are ongoing with the government,” Alexander said.

The furloughs are being initiated to synchronize production with government demand, she said.

The first of the furloughs will begin later this month.

Raytheon Aircraft Co., now Hawker Beechcraft, won the JPATS contract to build more than 700 primary trainers for the U.S. Navy and Air Force in 1996.

The low-wing, high-performance pressurized turboprop, called the T-6A Texan II, replaces the Air Force’s fleet of T-37B and the Navy’s fleet of T-34C aircraft.

Deliveries of T-6 trainers under the JPATS contract conclude in 2015.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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