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Monday, December 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: Bell Helicopter Announces Deep Job Cuts

COMMERCIAL | MILITARY

In the wake of the Pentagon’s cancellation of a contract with Bell Helicopter to build the new Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) for the Army, the Texas-based helicopter manufacturer announced 500 jobs cuts, mostly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but also in Amarillo, Texas. The layoffs represent four percent of Bell’s total workforce, The company’s management corps took the biggest hit.

The Pentagon was forced to cancel the ARH contract with Bell pursuant to federal guidelines that require doing so when a program falls significantly behind schedule or runs significantly over budget. Bell’s attempt to provide the Army with a fleet of a militarized version of its single-engine 407 under that contract did both.

"Staffing decisions are always difficult, especially in light of the global economic conditions. Our actions are intended to ensure that we retain the talent most needed for the projected business environment and treat every affected employee fairly and with respect and dignity," said Bell’s president and CEO Richard Millman in an official statement.

Bell remains a strong player in the industry as it continues to post strong sales of its light, single-engine and twin-engine rotorcraft line, including orders for the BA609 tilt-rotor, which the company is developing in partnership with AgustaWestland.

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