Pratt & Whitney Phasing Out 4,000 Jobs After Defense Cuts

From Associated Press

Aerospace giant Pratt & Whitney announced Thursday that it will eliminate 4,000 jobs by the end of 1993, mostly through attrition, because of an expected reduction in its military engine business.

The action will reduce the size of the jet engine maker's U.S. work force by about 11%, with Pratt & Whitney's Florida operations suffering the greatest impact.

Although it has a $20-billion backlog in orders for commercial engines, the company said, that would not offset a projected decline in defense contracts.

Pratt & Whitney said half the job reductions will take place at its Connecticut, Maine and Georgia operations, which employ 28,300, with Connecticut bearing the brunt of the cuts.

Pratt & Whitney makes all of its commercial and military engines in Connecticut, where it has a work force of 25,400 at plants in East Hartford, Southington, North Haven and Middletown. It is the state's largest private employer.

The other 2,000 jobs will be eliminated from Pratt & Whitney's West Palm Beach, Fla., operations, where 8,400 are employed, mostly in military engineering and testing.

"We think that this shrinkage reflects where we see the Defense Department going," said Curtis Linke, a spokesman for Pratt & Whitney, which is a division of United Technologies Corp.

With tension between the United States and the Soviet Union easing, the budget ax is expected to come down on Pratt-powered Air Force planes, such as the F-16 jet fighter, the advanced tactical fighter and the C-17 transport.

"The military business is still very viable for us; it is just getting smaller," Linke said.

Orders for commercial engines continue to be strong, but deliveries are spread over the next decade, the company said.

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