Boeing Commercial Airlines is planning to slash jobs.
The airplane manufacturer confirmed today that will cut its workforce in order to reduce costs. Boeing Commercial Airlines’ CEO, Ray Conner, made the announcement today during a senior leadership meeting and a webcast to employees.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder provided this statement to GeekWire:
To win in the market, fund our growth and operate as a healthy business, we are taking thoughtful steps to reduce the cost of designing and building our airplanes, part of which involves evaluating our employment levels across all of Commercial Airplanes. We will start reducing employment levels beginning with executives and managers first.
We will also use attrition and voluntary layoffs. As a last resort, involuntary layoffs may be necessary.
The overall employment impact will depend on how effectively we bring down costs as a whole.
The Seattle Times first reported about the job cuts, noting that Boeing’s total employment in Washington state fell from around 87,000 in 2012 to around 79,000 last month.
Boeing is facing stiff competition from Europe’s Airbus consortium as well as smaller jet manufacturers in Brazil, China, Russia and Japan. In addition to the rivalry with Airbus, Boeing is having to deal with broader economic challenges. For example, the air cargo market turned out to be weaker than expected last year, forcing reductions in the production rate for Boeing 747 jets. The production rate for the 777 jet is also being reduced due to lackluster demand.
Analysts say the past year’s rapid drop in oil prices eased the pressure on airlines to replace their older jets with newer, more fuel-efficient planes.
Job reductions are likely to have a bigger impact on Boeing’s Everett operation, where the wide-body 747s and 777s are assembled, than on its Renton plant, which is ramping up production of the single-aisle 737 MAX jet.
Ironically, word of the job reductions came a day after Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told industry executives at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance’s annual conference that the company was projecting “another good year” for the airline industry in 2016.
Alder said the time frame for layoffs has not yet been determined.
GeekWire’s Alan Boyle contributed to this report.