One OEM called it “an adjustment.” Another referred to it as a “reduction in force.” Yet another described an “involuntary separation plan.” But by those or any other names, the meaning is the same– “layoffs.” In the past 18 months, business aircraft manufacturers have announced layoffs of more than 9,000 workers and, barring a reversal of the current economic trend, there will be more.
For years the conventional wisdom has been that to make money, you have to spend money–on facilities, workforce, R&D and, of course, business aircraft to move key personnel quickly to where the opportunities present themselves. Sadly, to make money in not-so-good times you have to save money, and to do that one of the first items to go to the selling block is usually the corporate aircraft.
The last few months have been difficult for a number of aviation players. First, there were several whistleblower complaints from FAA aviation safety inspectors who risked their futures to make serious allegations against their management in the southwest region. These allegations had been under investigation for some time when the U.S. Congress decided to hold hearings and have FAA senior management respond to them in a public forum.
An agreement was recently reached between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the latter of which seeks to break away from IBT Local 1108 to form an independent NetJets pilot union.
Debi Irby always had a tough time finding new employees when she was chief pilot for various helicopter operators. The inquiries that did come to her attention were either random résumés from unqualified people or former military pilots asking how they could get into the civil market. It didn’t help that even within the aviation industry, helicopter people were thought of as a wild bunch, she said, “but we are professionals.”
The sixth annual HAI job fair yesterday at Heli-Expo drew more than 800 applicants who want to learn about opportunities to apply for positions with 34 aerospace employers, who are seeking to fill openings ranging from flight test engineer to upholstery shop manager, along with roles for a critical-care EMS nurse, sheet metal fabricator and glacier tour pilot.
For the third year in a row, Duncan Aviation was named one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.” The Lincoln, Neb. services company was the only general aviation firm to make the list. Ranked at number 25, Duncan was selected by the magazine based on random employee surveys regarding workplace culture, career opportunities, training and education benefits, worker appreciation and compensation.
Piaggio Aero Industries is considering laying off 150 to 170 workers over the next few months. This reduction follows a three-year period of transition of ownership from the Italian government, where a “pre-purchase level of employees was to be retained,” said company officials.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last month published its long-awaited rule that establishes the process for undergoing comprehensive background checks by aliens seeking first-time flight training in aircraft with mtow of more than 12,500 pounds. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), signed into law on Nov. 19, 2001, mandated background checks on aliens seeking flight training in large aircraft.
“Despite the economy there are still companies looking for pilots and OEMs looking to fill all sorts of positions, from pilots to sales reps to maintenance personnel,” Jodie Brown, president of Summit Solutions, told AIN. “And I can tell you that we really need leadership and management abilities in this industry, but the jobs are going to those who are qualified, do their homework before an interview and present themselves properly.”