Columbia Aircraft has begun recalling the first wave of employees it laid off in late March, to meet the demands of its accelerating production line.

The Bend Oregon-based company, which builds the 350 and 400 high-performance piston singles, says it has spent the last six weeks upgrading tooling and implementing a number of lean enterprise practices to enhance efficiency.

The first batch of recalled employees will be deployed in the assembly, upholstery and subassembly departments.

Columbia continues to deliver aircraft at a rate of four a week. Columbia slashed 10% of its 605-strong workforce following a number of unexpected events - a six-month certification delay on the Garmin G1000 instrument panel installation and a freak hailstorm which damaged more than 60 aircraft - which hit the company's profits (Flight International, 20-26 March).

Source: Flight International