Textron to furlough 7,000 workers as aviation industry takes hit from coronavirus

Textron to furlough 7,000 workers as aviation industry takes hit from coronavirus
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Textron Aviation on Wednesday announced that it will furlough thousands of workers as the global aviation chain takes a hit from the spread of coronavirus.

The Wichita Eagle first reported that the furloughs, which affect 7,000 employees – most U.S.-based – will be for four weeks, with the dates staggered beginning on March 23 and lasting until May 29.

The defense contractor, which makes the Beechcraft T-6 trainer used for Air Force pilot training, among other aircraft, said the furloughs are an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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“The health and well-being of our employees and customers continues to be our highest priority,” Textron said in a statement on its company website.

“Textron Aviation recognizes the importance of taking proactive and preventative actions to contain and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our customers, workforce and business operations.” 

Textron Aviation spokeswoman Sarah White said that the furloughs are for most of the company’s U.S.-based employees but would not provide the exact number or by location and function.

She added that the firm “will continue to support our Defense customers according to our funded contract requirements.” 

“We are abiding by the requirements established by the DoD and our partner nations, as well as the protocols implemented across U.S. and customer bases worldwide,” White said in a statement to The Hill.

In addition to the furloughs, the company is also “limiting large group meetings, increasing daily cleaning of its facilities, restricting travel, and cancelling our participation in several global meetings and events.”

The aviation industry has taken a significant hit with the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines for America, has requested roughly $50 billion in assistance in the form of grants, loans and tax relief to weather the coronavirus downturn, and Boeing on Wednesday sought a $60 billion bailout from Washington for the firm and its suppliers.