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October 5, 2021

Hartford drone maker announces layoffs, cites supply chain problems

Photo | Contributed Aquiline Drones founder and CEO Barry Alexander with Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

Hartford-based manufacturer Aquiline Drones has laid off 33 employees, close to half of its workforce, as it grapples with supply chain disruptions and pandemic-related restrictions on travel.

The aerial drone and cloud technology company said it had to reduce the staff of its manufacturing and sales departments but expects to rehire most of the affected workers “as soon as these supply chain and economic challenges are behind us.”

The firm now has 42 full-time employees remaining.

“Our country is currently in a manufacturing crisis,” Aquiline founder and CEO Barry Alexander said in a statement. “There are a record-breaking number of delayed cargo ships offshore not able to bring supplies and goods into their respective ports, which has affected the American manufacturing supply chain across the board, Aquiline Drones included.”

Alexander also pointed to global travel restrictions, which he said had severely impacted the company’s ability to interact with and sell to prospective customers.

Supply chain disruptions have wreaked havoc on nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, especially construction and manufacturing, where businesses face months-long waits and high prices for what were once easily obtainable materials.

Aquiline, which operates out of Hartford’s Stark Building, had been in the midst of a growth phase.

Earlier this year, the company was hiring new technicians, and in September it bought ElluminAI Labs, a business specializing in artificial intelligence software. It also purchased a 50% stake in Aerialtronics, a Dutch subsidiary of Drone Volt, which manufactures civil-use drones.

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