Eclipse Aerospace lays off employees

Updated: 08/15/2014 6:44 PM | Created: 08/15/2014 2:09 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, and Blair Miller,

ALBUQUERQUE -- Eclipse Aerospace laid off an unknown number of employees on Friday.

The company's senior vice president, Edward Lundeen, confirmed the layoffs and blamed market conditions and the economy as the reason behind the cuts.

"The market has not recovered as well as other parts of the economy. Jet sales have been slower than what we would have hoped for, so we have changed our production forecast, and as result of that, we had to adjust our human resources to go with that," Lundeen said.

Eclipse manufactures light jet aircrafts at a facility based in the Albuquerque Sunport.

In December, Eclipse announced they would be adding 100 new manufacturing jobs to the facility over the next two years. The city of Albuquerque and state of New Mexico had also planned to give the company $635,222 in Local Economic Development Act funds.

According to Angela Haisel of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the layoffs are temporary and the number of layoffs is not enough for the state to trigger a clawback provision that would force the company to pay back the money to the Economic Development and Economic Action Funds.

Haisel said the Economic Development Department has only paid out $158,000 of the $397,000 so far, and that Eclipse has until December 31, 2015 to reach their 100-person hiring goals.

Albuquerque Economic Development Director Gary Oppedahl told KOB that "it is our understanding that Eclipse has a plan to reabsorb staff, once their market conditions improve. In our agreement with Eclipse they only receive rental discounts when they are actively hiring."

Eclipse receives rental discounts for their space at the Albuquerque Sunport when they are actively hiring. According to Breanna Anderson, of the mayor's office, the city has distributed $95,301.50 in rental discounts per the contract.

Lundeen said the remaining employees at Eclipse Aerospace will return to work for business as usual on Monday. The manufacturing plant is still operating and building new Eclipse 550 twin engine jets.

"We appreciate the work they've done," Lundeen said. "As the market recovers, we'll post positions on our website."

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