"We don't see 2010 being a very positive year in comparison, in fact, we said we think it may be a very rough year. We've seen nothing so far to tell us that's not the case."
We spoke with Cessna CEO Jack Pelton over the phone Tuesday afternoon. He was in Washington DC for the release of the Aviation Industry Report. He said the down numbers didn't surprise him but did make for a somber presentation. He also added that 2010 isn't shaping up to be much better.
So, while business jet companies feel they may not have seen the worst of the downturn, commercial companies like Spirit fear they haven't see the start of it.
Spirit escaped 2009 with virtually no layoffs, but commercial aircraft companies generally see the effects of an economic downturn later than business aircraft companies. So the pressure's still there.
Chief Operations Officer Buck Buchanan tells Eyewitness News, "Especially when its so real for so many of your neighbors and people that you know. They're experiencing it and you're not, yet it always makes you wonder when the next shoe is going to drop."
Spirit says it has two major goals for the coming year, keeping its team together and keeping its company healthy. Two tricky tasks when you have a future as volatile as aviation's.
Buchanan adds, "We plan to hire little, if any, and mostly for critical skills. We'll absorb the attrition and try to reduce our overtime where we don't need it, so we don't have any layoffs."
One company hoping to avoid cutting jobs, and another company hoping to avoid cutting anymore.
"What we have to do now is measure whether we have got a balance between what we plan to produce and what we think new order intake will be," said Boisture.
A balance that may have to stay in place until things turn around, a date that could still be years down the road.
Boisture said a few positive things did come out of last year. The company had more free cash flow than in 2008 and managed to put away $235 million of debt.