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Pratt & Whitney engine maker leaving San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Engine maker Pratt & Whitney is leaving Southern California, which will eliminate 530 jobs as defense spending contracts and the company consolidates its operations.

The defense contractor announced Thursday that it plans to close its AeroPower facility in San Diego over the next two years, U-T San Diego reported (http://bit.ly/1hP6ZCn ).

AeroPower makes auxiliary power units for military and commercial airplanes. The units are engines used mainly to provide electricity and air conditioning to aircraft on the ground, and to start a plane's main engines.

"This decision, while a difficult one to make, is necessary to maintain our competitiveness in the market, further leverage Pratt & Whitney's network and best position the company for the future," spokesman Ray Hernandez said in a statement.

AeroPower's military business will move to Pratt & Whitney's Military Engines organization. The company is considering relocating operations to existing facilities in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

The commercial side will go to Pratt & Whitney Canada, with much of the actual work being done in Poland.

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. subsidiary, employs about 32,000 workers worldwide, with about 15,000 in the United States.

Pratt & Whitney has been dealing with fallout from spending cuts as the U.S. military left Iraq and prepares to exit Afghanistan. It also was hit with what it called uncertainty in the commercial jet engine spare parts business.

Last year, the company announced layoffs of more than 800 employees and said another 575 had agreed to retire with voluntary buyouts.

But the loss of another large business operation is a blow to California.

Late last month, Toyota Motor Corp. announced that the company would move it U.S headquarters in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance to Plano, Texas, at a cost of about 3,000 jobs.

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Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com

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