Airline downturn prompts job cuts at BAe

BAe
Systems is to cut almost 1,700 jobs due to a reduction in orders following the
US terror attacks.

Almost
1,000 jobs will be cut from the company’s factory at Woodford, Manchester, 300
at Chadderton – also in Manchester – and 219 at Prestwick as BAe Systems pulls
out of regional aircraft manufacturing and concentrates on the defence
industry.

In
the half year to 30 June 2001, 70 per cent of the company’s sales and profits
were from defence activities and these businesses are expected to make good
progress next year.

“We have now completed a detailed assessment of the
probable impact on our business of the recent severe downturn in the commercial
aerospace market,” said John Weston, chief executive, BAe Systems.

“Since September, the trading outlook in these markets has
changed substantially. In particular, operating profit expectations for Airbus
next year have been reduced significantly and the outlook for regional aircraft
has deteriorated sharply. Regrettably it has been concluded that our regional
jet business is no longer viable in this environment."

Weston
said that the although the changes in trading expectations for Airbus would
postpone the company’s return to growth, the core defence businesses were
progressing well.

By Paul Nelson

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