Boeing is cutting more than 12,000 US jobs through lay-offs and buyouts as the coronavirus pandemic seizes the travel industry. And the aircraft maker says more cuts are coming.
Shortly after disclosing the job cuts, Boeing announced Wednesday that it has resumed production of the grounded 737 Max jetliner.
Two deadly crashes of Max jets pushed Boeing into a financial crisis months before the coronavirus squeezed global air travel to a trickle.
Boeing, one of the nation’s biggest manufacturers, said it will lay off 6770 US employees this week, and another 5520 workers are taking buyout offers to leave voluntarily in the coming weeks.
The company had said it would cut 10 per cent of a workforce that numbered about 160,000. A Boeing spokesperson said Wednesday’s actions represent the largest number of job cuts, but several thousand additional jobs will be eliminated in the next few months.
Nearly 10,000 of the layoffs and buyouts are concentrated in the Seattle area, home to Boeing’s commercial-airplanes business. The company previously announced more than 600 jobs cuts in Canada and Australia.
Chicago-based Boeing has reduced production rates on several airplane models in response to falling demand. The company’s defense and space division has remained relatively stable, helping offset the decline in air travel and demand for passenger jets.
“The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the airline industry means a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need over the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices,” CEO David Calhoun said Wednesday in a memo to employees.
Calhoun said the company faces the challenges of keeping employees safe and working with suppliers and airlines “to assure the traveling public that it can fly safe from infection”.