When Bombardier Inc. decided before its Jan. 15 announcement to pause the Learjet 85 program, it first expected 720 Wichita employees to be affected.
But “during an initial evaluation of our organization and skillsets available, it was estimated that 100 of the notified employees would be redeployed or transferred into other positions within the organization resulting in a net impact of 620 employees,” Bombardier Business Aircraft spokeswoman Molly Edwards said in an e-mailed statement to The Eagle on Tuesday.
Edwards was responding to an Eagle query about the difference in the number of employees Bombardier said it was laying off and the number of employees who received notices, which was 720, according to the state’s KansasWorks website.
“As (Bombardier Inc. CEO) Pierre Beaudoin communicated, we value our employees’ expertise and skill sets and would be engaged in efforts to reassign as many affected employees as possible to other functions,” she said in the statement.
As required by federal law, Worker Adjust and Retraining Notification notices give workers a 60-day notice of their termination date. The WARN Act requires most companies with 100 or more employees to, in most situations, provide a two-month warning in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff.
In the case of Bombardier’s layoff action earlier this month, its 620 affected employees stopped working there Jan. 15, but they did receive 60 days’ pay and benefits, Edwards said in the statement.
The workforce cuts leave Bombardier’s Wichita operations with about 1,850 employees.
Beaudoin said during a conference call on Jan. 15 that the decision to pause the Learjet 85 program was “difficult” but “necessary,” because demand for the airplane and the segment of the business jet market it occupies wasn’t as strong as the company had hoped.
He said the company did plan to resume work on the plane, which has been in development since 2007.
Analysts told The Eagle that they thought the move was largely about shifting financial resources to two other aircraft development programs: Bombardier’s delayed CSeries airliner and its large-cabin Global Express 7000/8000 business jet program.