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SDSR - Further cuts in defence manufacturing

Published: 09 Oct 2011

The Daily Telegraph reports:  By Donna Bowater.

UP to 375 jobs will be cut by helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland after a drop in business with the Ministry of Defence.

The company, which has a factory in Yeovil, Somerset, and headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire, said the majority of the losses would be management and business support staff rather than engineers.

A voluntary redundancy programme has been launched alongside a 90 - day consultation, meaning there would be no compulsory redundancies until the new year.

The Italian-owned company employs almost 3,600 people in the UK and supplies aircraft to the British armed forces, but said revenues from the MoD were "declining".

It said it would focus on the growing export market as well as producing civil helicopters following the launch of the AW169 multi-purpose helicopter, which will be available from 2015.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The news of job losses at AgustaWestland will be upsetting for the individuals involved and the wider community in Yeovil. [My department] is working with the company to help secure a long-term future for the site by helping them to move in to civil helicopter work where there are strong opportunities for growth."

Ray Edwards, managing director of AgustaWestland, said: "These steps together - the increased civil aircraft workflow, the launch of the AW169 and the streamlining of the workforce - will place our UK operation on a strong footing and enable us to keep the skills needed for the UK to retain a viable helicopter capability.

"Our military business remains central to our success. This said, extending our capabilities in civil production and competing for export programmes, both areas where the government has shown considerable support, are the keys to AgustaWestland's future."


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