New PW1000G plant on track depsite Pratt & Whitney Canada layoffs

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Pratt & Whitney Canada will continue investing in new products, such as the PW1000G geared turbofan, despite plans to shed 1,000 jobs and slash overall production by 20%.

The Montreal-based subsidiary of Pratt & Whitney is building a new facility at Mirabel, Canada, to build the PW1000G for the Bombardier CSeries and the PW800 for the Cessna Columbus mid-size business jet.

The company re-affirmed the Mirabel facility plans after announcing to employees on Wednesday that at least 10% of the global workforce will be reduced "over the coming months". Previously, the company reduced forecasted engine deliveries in 2009 from 5,000 units to 4,000 units.

Job cuts at specific locations and operating groups are still being determined.

"That is the work that is to be done over the coming months," the spokesman says.

P&WC says the job and production cuts were triggered by dramatic changes in the business jet market segment, which has already seen Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft lay-off thousands of workers since December.

On the bright side, the company's helicopter, regional aviation and generation aviation segments "are still going relatively well," the spokesman says.

The economic downturn has quickly reversed a long period of dramatic growth in the business jet market segment.

However, airframe and engine manufacturers, including P&WC, have been reluctant to halt development programmes even as thousands of workers lose jobs.

The PW1000G engine is selected to power the CSeries and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). The geared turbofan is also proposed as a new option for Airbus and Boeing narrowbody jets, and eventually for widebodies.