Cessna closing 3 Columbus plants

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Cessna Aircraft Co. says the company will close its three Columbus plants within six to 24 months.

The Wichita, Kan.-based airplane manufacturer has employed as many as 600 people in Columbus. Cessna told its remaining 315 workers the news on Tuesday.

The Columbus operation assembles various parts that are shipped to Cessna facilities for assembly of small business jets and general aviation aircraft. Company spokesman Doug Oliver says that work will move to plants in Independence, Kan., and Mexico.

In August 2008, Cessna opened a $25 million, 100,000-square-foot plant in Columbus and announced plans for 150 jobs over five years. Instead, the company has steadily laid off workers in the down economy. A hundred cuts were announced in January, followed by 89 in April and 50 in August.

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