Saab to cut 350 jobs

Swedish aviation and defence group Saab will lay off 350 workers in four business units owing to a reduction of work for its Saab Gripen JAS 39 fighter plane, the group announced on Wednesday.

The development and production of the fighter jet has been one of Sweden’s largest industry projects, but the last plane is now due to be delivered in Sweden in 2007.

The company warned that it expected to lay off a further 1,000 to 1,500 people in 2005 and 2006.

“Production for export continues but still below today’s capacity,” Saab said in a statement.

The 350 lay-offs will concern workers at Saab Aerostructures, Saab Aerosystems, Saab Aircraft and Saab Support.

Saab has already laid off 1,000 people in 2003 and 2004. Including this latest move, notice has been given to 760 people in 2005.

In April, the group delivered the first six JAS 39 Gripen fighters to the Czech air force of a total of 14. The Czech Republic is the first NATO country to use the planes.