Boeing to offer early retirement and buyouts as coronavirus wreaks havoc

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Boeing Co. expected to start offering early retirement and buy-back plans to employees as aircraft manufacturer tackles growing global coronavirus pandemic crisis, people close to the company said. folder.

An internal announcement was expected as early as Thursday morning, said one of the people.

The Chicago-based aerospace giant is the largest US exporter and one of the largest manufacturing employers in the country. He has already announced measures, including a hiring and overtime freeze, to preserve liquidity amid credit market turmoil and a broader economic downturn.

Boeing airline customers and some of its suppliers have already sought to cut labor costs, including layoffs and unpaid voluntary leave, as the pandemic ravages transportation aviation and aerospace.

Boeing, which employs approximately 160,000 people, has announced no layoffs, even after cutting and then halting production of its 737 MAX in January and assembling most wide-body aircraft last month.

Nearly 65,000 of its employees build commercial aircraft and another 25,000 work in the unit, which provides spare parts and services to airlines.

The leaders said they were looking to avoid layoffs when they were looking to help taxpayers ease their financial strains and plan for a recovery.

Boeing Managing Director David Calhoun has said he wants to prepare for the end of the crisis. “I have to keep my staff in place and we have to be ready when the recovery comes,” he said last week in an interview with Fox Business Network.

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Boeing has requested at least $ 60 billion in government assistance for itself, its suppliers and the wider aerospace industry. The company has not said if it will apply for loans under a $ 2 trillion stimulus package approved in Washington, D.C., last week. Part of the aid would come with restrictions on layoffs.

As the pandemic worsened in March, Boeing suspended its dividend and temporarily halted production at its plant in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle.

Its share price doubled last week as investors believed government aid would ease the tightening of liquidity, but has fallen sharply in recent days, analysts warn more airlines may be looking to cancel orders or not being able to take on new planes.

Write to Andrew Tangel at [email protected]

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