The numbers publicized Wednesday “represent the largest segment of layoffs” that are expected, a Boeing spokesperson said.
Boeing said Wednesday that nearly 7,000 of its U.S. employees will be involuntarily laid off, a bloodletting that is part of a plan for the aerospace giant to shrink its overall workforce by 10 percent amid the new aviation landscape created by Covid-19.
In addition, about 5,500 U.S. workers are being laid off voluntarily.
In a message to employees sent Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said the pandemic’s impact “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.”
“We have done our very best to project the needs of our commercial airline customers over the next several years as they begin their path to recovery,” Calhoun said. “I wish there were some other way.”
The numbers publicized Wednesday “represent the largest segment of layoffs” that are expected, a Boeing spokesperson said. “The several thousand remaining layoffs will come in additional tranches over the next few months.”
The coronavirus pandemic has crushed demand for passenger airline travel, and the Boeing spokesperson said its biggest workforce cuts are to “areas that are most exposed to the condition of our commercial customers,” but that “our defense, space and related services businesses will help us limit overall impact.”
In his message to workers, Calhoun pointed to some initial indications of recovery for the industry, saying some airlines are “reporting that reservations are outpacing cancellations on their flights for the first time since the pandemic started,” and a number of “countries and U.S. states are starting cautiously to open their economies again.”
Still, it will take years for the industry to “return to what it was just two months ago,” Calhoun said.
He said Boeing will need to work with airlines to “assure the traveling public that it can fly safe from infection.”
“We also will have to adjust our business plans constantly until the global pandemic stops whipsawing our markets in ways that are still hard to predict,” he said.
Later Wednesday, Boeing said it had restarted production of its beleaguered 737 MAX in Renton, Wash., after a monthslong suspension. The MAX has been grounded around the world since March 2019, following two fatal crashes.