Piper on track to open training school in Brunei

VERO BEACH — Piper Aircraft is on track to open a flight training school in Brunei sometime early next year, the Brunei Times reported Monday in its online edition.Piper, which is owned by the financial firm Imprimis with backing from the Brunei government, will supply between 15 to 20 planes to the operation, but the company is considering proposals from outside vendors to run the school for pilots.

“Our expertise is in building planes, so we would like to partner with (someone who is an) expert in this field,” the Brunei Times quoted Piper Asia managing director Mary Messuti.Word of the Brunei training school comes after the company said it is planning to open an office in Europe as part of a global sales strategy under the direction of recently hired executive vice president Randy Groom. It also comes after the company told Vero Beach workers last week they would be forced to take a one-week furlough starting Aug. 9 in response to slower than expected deliveries of training planes in Asia. The company said it is cutting back from an expected doubling of the 100 plane deliveries in 2009, to about 160 worldwide.Piper had started hiring workers at the Vero Beach operation late last year in response to the sales surge, moving from a low of 570 at the depth of the recession to about 900 now on the job.The Brunei times reported Messuti as saying the Aug. 9 furloughs would not include Piper Asia.

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