Boeing to eliminate 4,000 jobs in commercial airplanes division

Aerospace giant Boeing plans to eliminate around 4,000 jobs in its commercial airplanes division by the middle of this year and 550 more in a division that conducts flight and lab tests, Reuters reported citing a source.

Boeing will eliminate 1,600 positions in the commercial airplanes division through voluntary layoffs, and the rest of the cuts would be completed by leaving open positions unfilled, spokesman Doug Alder said.

"While there is no employment reduction target, the more we can control costs as a whole the less impact there will be to employment," Alder said.

He added, that the job cuts, which would include hundreds of executive and managerial positions, would include voluntary layoffs. Boeing plans further cuts of about 10 per cent of the approximately 5,700 jobs in its test and evaluation division, which conducts flight and lab tests, spokeswoman Sandra Angers told Reuters.

The company had a workforce of 161, 400 employees as of 31 December.

Reuters had reported last month that the company was considering offering voluntary layoffs to its professional engineers and technical workers.

On Tuesday, the company told The Seattle Times that ''hundreds of executives and managers'' would be among the initial losses and a 4,000 figure would be reached by June through normal attrition and a voluntary buyout package for about 1,600 employees. However, in the event of targets not being met, there could further job cuts later this year the paper was told.

The company was not planning involuntary at the time moment and its savings would be derived through 1,600 workers who had been elected to leave the company under a voluntary programme announced last month, Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel told Bloomberg.

Sean McCormack, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president of communications, said yesterday that the company's targets were dollar-based. ''The more we reduce non-labor costs, the less impact there will be to jobs,'' he added.