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Boeing to let go hundreds of engineers in Washington state

18 April 2017

Boeing Co plans to let go hundreds of engineers in Washington state and other locations and might eliminate more jobs later this year as it has been facing slowing aircraft sales.

The manufacturer plans to hand out pink slips on Friday, the same day that 305 engineers and technical workers will leave voluntarily under an earlier buyout offer. Boeing had cut 1,332 jobs from its Seattle-area manufacturing centre since the start of 2016, according to SPEEA, the union representing the workers.

Boeing might make additional engineering cuts depending on ''our business environment and the amount of voluntary attrition,'' John Hamilton, vice president of engineering for the commercial airplanes unit, said in a letter to employees yesterday.

The dismissals were needed to ''meet our operating plan and additional challenges in the marketplace.''

The Chicago-based company has been cutting employment for over a year as jetliner sales started slowing after a record sales spree.

Boeing cut the Washington workforce by 9 per cent to 70,640 employees over the past year, with the company's total headcount falling 7.6 per cent to 146,962 since March 2016.

Total revenue for 2016 fell 1.6 per cent to $94.6 billion as Boeing slowed output of the 747 jumbo jetliner as sales declined. Boeing said it would cut the production rate of the 777 twin-aisle plane for a second time.

 ''We need to reduce our employment levels further,'' John Hamilton, vice president of engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, wrote yesterday, according to The Seattle Times.

''We anticipate [Friday's notices] will impact hundreds of engineering employees. Additional reductions in engineering later this year will be driven by our business environment and the amount of voluntary attrition.''

More than 300 engineering and technical staff and 1,500 members of the Machinists union had accepted a round of voluntary buyouts in January.

The Times reported all engineering staff who accepted the proposal would permanently leave Boeing Friday, along with roughly 1,000 of the machinists.

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