Cessna Aircraft is recalling employees and hiring personnel to support planned production rate increases, the company confirmed this week.
“At this point, that amounts to approximately 150 people,” said Cessna spokesman Andy Woodward.
The need for additional employees is the result of a slight uptick in the market, he said. Cessna also has increased its sales force.
“We feel it’s a strategy that’s going to increase the demand,” Woodward said.
Woodward declined to give details on which production lines are increasing.
Cessna employs 7,800 people, including 4,850 in Wichita and 460 in Independence.
Wichita’s employment figures at Cessna are down dramatically from before the recession damaged the city’s general aviation industry. In late 2008, Cessna employed nearly 12,000 in Wichita. In the next year, it cut about half of its workforce as the downturn hurt orders and production fell.
Cessna posted $669 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2012, compared with $556 million for the same time a year ago. The company recorded $6 million in losses in the quarter, down significantly from a loss of $38 million a year ago.
The company delivered 38 Citation jets in the first three months of the year, compared with 31 a year ago. Cessna’s order backlog fell in the quarter to $1.7 billion, down $167 million from the end of 2011.
The market is gradually improving, but Cessna’s performance was “still soft” and its business jet backlog continued to dwindle, RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Stallard noted in a recent report.