Bell Helicopter plans to lay off 115 engineers, primarily at the company’s Fort Worth corporate headquarters, the company informed workers earlier this week. In a statement Cathy Ferrie, Bell’s senior vice president of engineering, said the company remains committed to future programs, but “for these programs to win in the marketplace we have to be cost competitive.” In May, Bell laid off about 140 workers.
Bell’s parent company, Textron on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter net income rose 13 percent, benefiting from higher revenue from its Cessna jet and Bell helicopter businesses and its industrial division. Textron officials said in 2013 Bell delivered 13 V-22s, 6 H-1s and 75 commercial helicopters in the quarter, up from last year’s fourth quarter when it delivered 9 V-22s, 6 H-1s and 65 commercial helicopters in last year’s fourth quarter. During the quarter, the Department of Defense also notified Congress that it intends to sell six V-22s to Israel.
On the commercial helicopter front, Textron reported that Bell delivered 213 helicopters for the full year, up 13 percent from last year’s 188 units. Despite those improvements, Textron officials said they expect Bell to be flat in 2014, reflecting a decrease in military revenue that should be offset by increases in the commercial business. – Robert Francis