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Boeing to lay off nearly 7,000 US employees

CEO says ‘I wish there were some other way’ in letter to employees while announcing sweeping involuntary layoffs

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 27 May 2020 17:17 BST
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Boeing CEO predicts a major US airline will fold

Boeing has announced it has begun involuntary layoffs in a move that will affect at least 6,770 of the company’s US-based staff.

In a letter to employees, chief executive David Calhoun suggested the company was making job cuts due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the airline and travel industries.

“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,” he wrote, adding: “I wish there were some other way.”

The news followed plans the company announced last month to shed nearly 10 percent of its workforce, which totalled 160,000 people around the world before the pandemic began.

Union officials previously reported that Boeing had announced about 2,500 voluntary layoffs as part of a “first phase” of larger cuts.

The latest cuts reflect “the largest segment of layoffs”, the company said.

However, a spokesperson added that Boeing would continue with additional cost-cutting measures and layoffs as it enacts its previously announced plan to shed nearly 10 per cent of its workforce.

“The several thousand remaining layoffs will come in additional tranches over the next few months,” the spokesperson said.

In April, Boeing recorded zero orders for the second time this year and customers cancelled another 108 orders for its grounded 737 Max plane, compounding its worst start to a year since 1962.

The pandemic worsened a crisis for the company in which the 737 Max was grounded last year after the second of two fatal crashes.

Last month, Boeing raised $25bn (£20bn) in a bond offering that allowed the company avoid taking government aid.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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