Panasonic Avionics Corp., a manufacturer of in-flight entertainment systems based in Lake Forest, plans to lay off 221 employees next month as it grapples with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a notice sent to the state’s employment development department last month, the company said the pandemic has slowed business down. The layoffs will take effect on September 30.
“While we believe we are in the recovery phase from the effects COVID-19 has had on our industry, we don’t expect a full return in customer demand for some time,” wrote Kristi Williamson, vice-president. president of the company’s human resources. department.
Layoffs represent about 13% of the total facility workforce at 26220 Enterprise Way, officials said. Plant operations will continue.
“At this time, you should consider your separation to be permanent and you should not expect to be recalled to employment with Panasonic Avionics again,” Williamson told workers in the letter. “However, we encourage you to check our careers page in case any positions become available in the future and you wish to apply. “
Employees who had re-enrolled for health and dental benefits for 2021 and their dependents will be eligible for the continuation of those services for up to 18 months after their termination, the company said.
Disability benefits under the Panasonic Flex Plan will end on September 30, Panasonic said. Vacation and personal days earned and not used will be paid to affected employees on their last paycheck, less applicable deductions and deductions.
Panasonic Avionics, a division of Panasonic Corp. of North America, manufactures in-flight entertainment systems for video on demand, in-flight shopping, telephone service, e-mail, video games and a GPS flight location display.
The company supplies equipment to Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier.
Panasonic’s engineering and product development departments are located in Lake Forest. Program management, certification, system installation engineering, and quality control are located in Bothell, Washington, and manufacturing is performed in Osaka, Japan.
Three years ago, Panasonic Corp. agreed to pay $ 280 million to resolve U.S. allegations that Panasonic Avionics executives improperly withheld payments from consultants in the Middle East and Asia, some of whom have done little or no work for the ‘business.
The April 30, 2018 regulation stipulated that the parent company would pay $ 143 million in disgorgement to the Securities and Exchange Commission, while Panasonic Avionics agreed to pay approximately $ 137 million in penalties to the Department of Justice for violating accounting provisions. of the Foreign Corrupt. Practices Act.
An industry with heavy losses
Data from Airlines for America shows U.S. airlines recorded $ 4.3 billion in pre-tax losses in the first half of 2021, losses that would have been much worse without federal payroll support.
The industry has seen several months of steady increases, according to the report, but ticket sales have plummeted amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Demand for corporate and long-haul international air travel continues to lag, Airlines for America said, leaving revenues well below 2019 levels.