Monday, September 7, 2009
Labor Day 2009 (Part 1 of 3)
My appologies for using, um, steam gages, rather than something "glassier", for a barometer of the health of the general aviation industry.
Our friends in Albquerque are just beginning their journey, so it is premature to measure their success. But recent developments have most enthusiasts, and critics, pondering the state of the industry at large.
As we conclude this Labor Day weekend (in North America), I am curious how our fellow bloggers feel about the industry's health, from their relative vantage points.
I've heard, on and off for literally decades, that aviation manufacturing lags the general economy by 18 months. (Example- of hearing it anyway: Craig Fuller, AOPA President, March 2009).
From my keyhole on the world, it appeared the general (USA) economy bottomed out around March. I was hopeful things would be flat (rather than declining) for a few months. And, well, right about now- start improving. Eclipse Aerospace emergence on the scene seemed to fit nicely with that scenerio.
But of late, there seems to be more unexpected bad news in other houses of aviation...
Wichita Eagle, Aug 15, 2009 (Cessna cuts another 500 workers in August)
Aviation Week, Aug 20, 2009 (HawkerBeech benefits reductions and layoffs)
Wall Street Journal, Aug 20, 2009 (Learjet cancels 110 airplane deal)
WDIO-TV, Aug 26, 2009 (Cirrus cuts 90 employees)
Wichita Business Journal, Sept 04, 2009 (Hawker lays off 395, plus 118 the next week)
AP, Sept 05, 2009 (Wichita suppliers layoff 1000 workers)
All that, on top of previous bad news for the year;
TCPalm, July 27, 2009 (Cutbacks at Piper)
AP, June 12, 2009 (Cessna to cut 1300 more staff, plus 6,900 since Nov 2008)
Financial Times, June 3, 2009 (Embraer cuts employment 20%)
And of course, the 2000+ jobs lost during Eclipse Aviation's demise. (Puzzling how Mayor Chavez keeps referring only to 800).
It's not the greatest Labor Day we've had in aviation.
But, not the worst. I know that's small comfort for thousands out of work.
I don't mention it to be trite, but instead to offer some small ray of encouragement.
I sincerely hope next Labor Day will be one to celebrate more reobustly.
(This is part one, of a three-part Labor Day series- to be continued on Thursday and next Monday mornings. This one is the least encouraging- as such, I hope it doesn't bum anyone out, but is rather intended to illustrate that "you are not alone". Again- small comfort- but hopefully, some. Stay tuned for better news on Thursday).