Boeing forced to cut 30,000 jobs

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The Independent Online

Boeing, the world's biggest planemaker, plans to lay off as many as 30,000 commercial airplane workers by the end of next year as a result of an expected slowdown in orders caused by last week's terrorist attacks.

"We profoundly regret that these actions will impact the lives of so many of our highly valued employees," Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.

"However, it is critical that we take these necessary steps now to size the Commercial Airplanes business to support the difficult and uncertain environment faced by our airline customers," he said.Roughly 93,000 people work for Boeing's commercial airline sector, much of which is based around the company's former headquarters in Seattle.

The cuts could affect British aerospace companies, which will see component orders fall.

The White House and Congress are considering a federal aid package for the airline industry to help them recover from last week's attacks.

The industry has asked for $24 billion. The House floated a $15 billion relief plan last Friday that could include $2.5 billion in immediate grants and $12.5 billion in loans and credits.

Though the White House and congressional leaders suggested a multibillion-dollar package was on the way, they weren't offering a final dollar figure or timetable for debate.

The Bush administration could propose an aid package next week, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said. The House may move forward this week, when it returns from a recess for the Jewish New Year holiday.

Boeing's stock has plunged since markets reopened this week. On Monday, the first regular day of trading the price fell $7.66. The price was down $2.66, to $33.14, when trading closed on Tuesday.