AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE : Helicopter Unit to Cut 1,000 Jobs

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. on Friday announced a restructuring that will eliminate 800 to 1,000 jobs next year at its Mesa headquarters and its Culver City facility.

Along with the cuts--up to 20% of the work force--the unit of McDonnell Douglas Corp. said it will consolidate several divisions.

“The rigorous cuts in defense spending coupled with a sharp economic downturn forces us to take action,” said Tom Gunn, president of the helicopter unit.

The company does not know how many positions will be eliminated at each location. The Mesa facility has 4,000 employees and Culver City 1,200.


As part of the restructuring, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter said it may sell portions of its business. It is also considering joint ventures.

“We’re exploring everything, product lines included,” spokesman Ken Jensen said.

The layoffs will be accomplished through attrition and the elimination of less essential positions as existing contracts are concluded, the company said.

The company said it did not have any estimates on how much it will save from the work-force reduction.


Jensen said McDonnell Douglas Helicopter is profitable and is expected to remain so.

But the division faces cutbacks in its main military program--the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter--and is struggling with a recession that has hurt sales of commercial helicopters, including its new MD-520N, which has no tail rotor.

The cuts come just days after the St. Louis-based parent company said it will slash up to 3,800 jobs at its Douglas Aircraft Co. unit in the next 18 months because of a slowdown in demand for its jetliners.

McDonnell stock closed down $1 at $66.125 on the New York Stock Exchange.