Piper Executive: ‘Starting to see an uptick in the marketplace’

Staff ReportORLANDO — Piper Aircraft CEO Kevin Gould, stating he is “starting to see an uptick in the marketplace,” expects to increase output by as much as 50 percent over 2009 production levels, in remarks made at the National Business Aviation Association trade show in Orlando.The increase could mean as many as 165 orders for 2010, according to Industry Web site Flightglobal.com. Gould was also quoted on the Web site that the Vero Beach-based company is “cautiously optimistic about the year ahead for us.” However, the assessment is still subject to mid-year corrections and the company has yet to announce if it will be ending monthly week-long furloughs through the end of the year or whether it will be hiring back employees that have been laid off due to the downturn in the economy. The company has struggled in the tight market and has seen its plane orders drop from 268 in 2008 to the 110 it expects to produce this year.Gould did say at the trade show that the company will continue to ramp up for the Piper Jet. Piper currently has 17 job openings listed on its Web site to further development of the single-engine jet. Singapore-based Imprimis, which recently purchased Piper with money from the Brunei government, has been putting cash toward development of the jet, which it will market in the U.S. and in the Far East. Piper will also start to push its marketing campaign for the PiperJet as it clears more production hurdles and draws nearer being ready for market, according to Flightglobal.com. Sales for the jet have hovered around 200. The company has yet to announce the new certification schedule for the PiperJet or when it expects the first jet to hit the market.

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