Spirit AeroSystems, one of the main Boeing’s suppliers for the 737 MAX programs, announced another round of layoffs as a result of the drop in the production rate of the aircraft.
With the production being cut from 125 to 72 units for 2020, it is the third cutback this year. The overall rate has now contracted by 80% in comparison to plans made in 2019. According to Spirit AeroSystems CEO Tom Gentile, the company’s production rates “have fallen from historic highs to significantly lower volumes in a matter of months.”
As a result, Spirit’s commercial programs will see 1,100 layoffs, 450 of them at the factory in Wichita, Kansas. This includes employees transitioning to defense programs, moving to temporary projects, and participating in voluntary layoff opportunities.
Although the production was reduced three times, it’s the fourth round of layoffs this year at the supplier. Previously, workforce reductions took place in January, May, and June, not including eliminated contractor positions.
Boeing 737 MAX backlog shrunk by more than a tenth since March 2019, when the aircraft was grounded due to two tragic crashes.
The aircraft completed the first round of certification flights in July 2020, and although some airlines are still counting on it as a chance to recover from the current crisis, a lot more have reduced or outright canceled their orders. Boeing’s chief executive David Calhoun indicated that the manufacturer plans to resume deliveries of the Boeing 737 MAX in Q4 2020.