Bell Helicopter today laid off around 500 employees, 4% of its total workforce and 20% of its management level staff, a downstream effect of the cancellation of the US Army's Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter ARH-70A programme on 16 October.

"With the loss of the ARH-70A programme, we must make changes in our staffing and structure to reduce costs and ensure that our products remain competitive," says Bell president and chief executive Richard Millman. "Staffing decisions are always difficult, especially in light of global economic conditions."

The company says it will provide pay and benefits to the employees for 60 days, in addition to severance benefits.

Layoffs also hit the general aviation manufacturing segment yesterday, with Cirrus Design cutting more than 100 of its 1,200 employees and cutting the working week to as few as three days a week until the end of the year. AAI Acquisitions eliminated nearly all 200 of its positions and suspended certification work on the company's A700 very light jet.

Bell ARH-70A 
 © Bell

Source: Flight International