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RAYTHEON Aircraft cutting 470 jobs

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Blaming lower than expected production rates for its planes, Raytheon Aircraft Co. said Wednesday it will lay off 470 hourly employees in Kansas.

Employee notices will begin later this month and continue through the year. The reduction comes in addition to the 450 salaried administrative and managerial jobs that the company said in April it would cut in Wichita and Salina as a pre-emptive move in a soft economy.

Most of the latest layoffs will be made in Wichita, where the company has 9,200 employees, said Raytheon spokesman Jim Gregory. It has 600 workers in Salina.

``In Salina we are trying to minimize the impact by transferring as many people as possible, depending on scheduling, to the Premier I program,'' he said. ``That will serve to mitigate (the layoffs) somewhat in the Salina community.''

Raytheon announced earlier this year that it was putting its Premier I wing production at its Salina facility.

The layoffs are for workers on the King Air and Beechjet airplane production lines, Gregory said.

The company said it plans to deliver 468 new aircraft in 2001, 40 fewer than planned. Those include 16 fewer Beechjets and 24 fewer King Air turboprops.

Demand has been stronger for Raytheon's newer business jets _ the Hawker Horizon, the mid-size Hawker 800XP and the newly certified Premier I entry-level business jet.

The company has a backlog of more than $4 billion, Gregory said.

In April, the company announced it was examining its production rates.

``Everyone was aware the production review was underway, and this is a result of it,'' Gregory said.

He declined to say whether more layoffs were planned: ``I couldn't speculate on where the economy is going in the future.''

The company recently announced that Jim Schuster would become head of Raytheon's commercial aircraft unit, replacing Hansel Tookes, who stepped down to become president of the company's international operations.

Raytheon has been beset with financial problems, reporting an operating loss of $4 million in the first three months of the year.

Schuster has said his short-term goal is to ensure that Raytheon obtains financial predictability, with long-term goals of increasing business and developing three-year and five-year plans for the company.

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