Thursday, December 4, 2003

GEAE to cut 350 jobs for jet slump



By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

GE Aircraft Engines expects to cut up to 350 salaried jobs worldwide through the middle of next year because of the ongoing slump in the commercial jet engine business.

GEAE president David Calhoun told employees in a recent Webcast on the state of the business that he hopes the cuts can be accomplished through normal attrition and retirements. GEAE has about 25,500 employees worldwide.

The unit of General Electric Co. typically offers early retirement and severance plans to eligible employees to reduce the need for forced terminations.

The engine maker employs about 6,400 in Greater Cincinnati. A spokesman said there was no way of knowing how many jobs might be eliminated here.

The job cuts are the latest in a string of downsizings at GEAE dating back to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which dealt a blow to an airline industry already feeling the effects of recession. At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, GEAE employed 30,000 worldwide and about 7,500 in Greater Cincinnati.

Calhoun told employees that GEAE expects revenues this year of $10.5 billion, down from $11.1 billion in 2002 and $11.4 billion in 2001.

Last year, GEAE reported operating profit of $2.06 billion, down from $2.15 billion in the prior year. Calhoun told employees that operating profit is expected to be little changed this year.

Last spring, GEAE said it expected to trim up to 800 salaried jobs, or about 3 percent of its total work force. The spokesman said Wednesday that he didn't have information on how many of those jobs were eliminated.

E-mail mboyer@enquirer.com



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