GE to Shut Down Corporate Jet Fleet in Cost-Cutting Move -- Update

By Thomas Gryta and Mark Maremont Features Dow Jones Newswires

General Electric Co. executives will have to find new ways to fly around the globe.

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The conglomerate is grounding its corporate fleet of jets as new CEO John Flannery continues to look for ways to slash costs at the industrial giant.

Mr. Flannery is cutting spending in GE corporate operations, including unwinding the internal airline for corporate executives, effective Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the situation. GE will still operate some helicopters and other aircraft overseas, while using charter services as needed.

GE owns several business jets, federal records show, including at least two Bombardier Challenger aircraft. Its pilots for decades have shuttled executives to business meetings and operations around the globe, racking up hundreds of hours a year.

The company has required the CEO to use corporate aircraft for all travel, including personal travel, for safety and security purposes. But with profits under pressure and sales pinched by weakness in parts of the company, Mr. Flannery is looking for ways to save.

"As we have said, we are executing on a plan to take out $2 billion in cost by the end of 2018," a GE spokeswoman said. "As part of that effort, starting today, we are reducing the Corporate Air Transport services and will use charter companies as needed."

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Write to Thomas Gryta at thomas.gryta@wsj.com and Mark Maremont at mark.maremont@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 20, 2017 12:19 ET (16:19 GMT)