Hawker Beechcraft today announced plans to slash its workforce by 5% in response to worsening global financial conditions.

The Wichita-based airframer reportedly informed employees about the cuts in a letter from CEO Jim Schuster on Friday. A third-quarter earnings release confirmed the plans to the public today.

"In response to the weakness in the global economy and overall economic outlook, HBC informed employees on Oct. 31, 2008 that reductions in workforce would be required as adjustments are made to aircraft production rates," the company says.

Hawker reported that third quarter sales amounted to $783.3 million, an $87.7 million decline from the same period a year ago.

In addition to broad economic challenges, Hawker's third quarter also took a financial hit from a four-week strike in August by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

Hawker says: "Aircraft deliveries were significantly impacted by the strike. During the quarter, the Company delivered 86 business and general aviation aircraft consisting of 34 jet, 33 turboprop and 19 piston aircraft, as compared to the 106 aircraft during the same period in 2007."

The company also paid a $25 million charge to modify early production Hawker 4000 business jets to the final type design and standardize the production system.

"We are also closely monitoring global economic conditions to assess the impact on our industry," Schuster says. "Going forward, we will be proactive in responding to the evolving economic realities while continuing to provide the industry's best products, services and support."

Source: Flight International