Dassault Falcon Jet to Halt Production for Two Weeks

by Sam Eifling  on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010 4:35 pm  

Dassault Falcon Jet will close its Little Rock production facility for two weeks this summer, the company told its 1,800 employees there Friday. The shutdown, which the company undertakes annually at its plant in France, is aimed at synchronizing workers' vacations to make it cheaper for the company to build aircraft.

"It's an efficient way to handle work flow, to have everyone take a vacation at the same time," Ralph Aceti, the company's director of communications, said in an interview from the company's North American headquarters for marketing and service, in Teterboro, N.J. "It's a measure we're taking to be as efficient as we can. The marketplace right now is not all that strong."

Shutting down production allows a company to keep its specialists all working at the same time. Aceti said other aviation companies, including Gulf Stream and Cessna, and some auto manufacturers use the same practice in the name of efficiency.

The facility's service center will remain open while the production plant closes during the last week of July and the first week of August.

The company had expanded to more than 2,000 employees while managing a backlog of orders in late 2007, Aceti said, but has cut workers over the intervening months because the recession brought a wave of cancellations on production orders.

"Admittedly, we've had a very tough two years here," Aceti said. "We've had to reduce the number of people in the last two and a half years, but if you look at deliveries in 2009, we actually delivered more airplanes in 2009 than we did in 2008."

Workers were given these six months' notice of the shutdown to give them plenty of time to plan for the time off. Those who don't have two weeks' vacation time to use will likely be eligible for unemployment benefits, Aceti said.





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