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MacDill Air Force Base News

Two Tampa firms plan to cut nearly 700 jobs

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:41 PM
TAMPA -

Two Tampa employers announced plans for nearly 700 layoffs Thursday in separate job cuts at a Tampa International Airport aircraft maintenance hangar and a contractor service at MacDill Air Force Base.

Pemco World Air Services Inc., which provides commercial aircraft maintenance and repair services at two hangars on the east side of the airport, said in a state notice it would lay off 474 employees between now and Aug 15.

And Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has filed a notice that it may lay off 200 workers next month from its operations at MacDill Air Force Base's Central Command if a defense contract is not renewed.

Pemco, which is headquartered in Tampa and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, relocated in 2008 to a hangar at the east side of the airport that US Airways left vacant in a Thanksgiving holiday layoff of 300 employees in 2002.

As recently as January, Pemco discussed expansion plans at Tampa International but in March filed for bankruptcy protection in part because maintenance contracts had slowed. Pemco listed assets and debt of $50 million to $100 million each in its Chapter 11 documents.

"We're saddened by this turn of events," Tampa International chief executive Joe Lopano said. "No one likes to see layoffs."

Last week, SAIC filed a notice with the state's Department of Economic Opportunity about the possible layoffs.

The letter was signed by Rick Reynolds, an executive with SAIC, who said that the company is confident it will get the contract that could save the jobs, "however, if we are not selected to continue our work, the permanent layoff of approximately 200 SAIC is expected to commence on Sept. 21."

The McLean, Va., company employs about 40,000 workers that contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. government civil agencies. The defense contractor boasted annual revenues of more than $10 billion last year.

Reynolds, in the letter to the state, said all attempts will be made to find work for the affected employees within the company and with other companies if the layoffs come to pass.

SAIC provides command, control, communications and computer information support services to U.S. Central Command, said company spokeswoman Melissa Lee Koskovich.

"SAIC's current contract with CENTCOM ends on Sept. 21, 2012," she said. The layoffs, she said, "would occur only if SAIC is not selected for the follow-on contract."

At an investment conference last month, company officials said layoffs were expected to deal with federal budget cuts totaling $1.2 trillion beginning in January. SAIC was not the only defense contractor to hint that layoffs would be the only alternative to deal with the cuts.

Chief executives with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman also have announced plans for mass layoffs because of the cuts.


kmorelli@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7760

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