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Demand for business planes down, Learjet cuts jobs in Wichita

Bombardier Aerospace will cut another 10 percent of its overall work force – about 3,000 employees – including 470 jobs at its Learjet facility in Wichita, the company said Thursday.

"Business aircraft demand has deteriorated rapidly during the second half of calendar 2008 and is expected to remain weak for the foreseeable future," the company said.

Bombardier now expects to deliver about 25 percent fewer business aircraft this year than it did last year. Customers have canceled and deferred aircraft orders and new orders are down.

Affected Wichita employees began learning of the layoffs Thursday morning. They include 300 hourly workers and 170 non-union employees and managers.

It's the second round of cuts for the company in two months. On Feb. 5, Bombardier said it would cut 1,360 jobs, including 350 in Wichita.

The new cuts bring the total job reductions at the facility to 820. That's about 30 percent of the 2,684 people employed at Bombardier Learjet at the end of December.

It's also the second round of bad news for Wichita's aviation industry this week.

On Tuesday, Cessna announced more layoffs were ahead as it further reduces production rates. More details are expected at the end of April.

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