Central Point helicopter-maker lays off 35

Erickson Air-Crane Inc. has cut 35 helicopter manufacturing jobs from its Central Point operation.

The layoffs were announced and took effect Monday, reducing the company's 600-person local work force by 5.8 percent.

President and chief executive officer Udo Rieder said reduced sales last year prompted reduced production this year, forcing the elimination of manufacturing jobs.

"This is a short-term bump in the road," he said, linking the difficulties to high oil prices and economic weakness around the globe.

Still, he noted, the company's maintenance, repair and overhaul work and aerial operations are strong and could grow.

"We will have to look at new alternatives, but I'm optimistic that we will find a strategy," Rieder said.

He pointed to potential for growth in construction and logging work in Asia and the Middle East.

— Anita Burke

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