Rolls-Royce will shut down its central Virginia aircraft parts factory by the middle of next year, throwing 280 people out of work, the company confirmed on Saturday.
The closure is the result of the drop in global travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. There had already been 120 layoffs at the plant in June.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE ROAD BY CLICKING HERE
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a historic collapse in civil aviation that will take several years to recover. As a result, we have had to make difficult, but necessary, decisions to protect the future of our business, ”Rolls-Royce North America spokesperson Don Campbell said in a statement. The British company Rolls-Royce is headquartered in North America in northern Virginia.
The plant opened in 2011 in an office park in Prince George County, approximately 40 miles southeast of Richmond. The factory manufactures precision aircraft components such as rotating discs and turbine blades, according to the newspaper.
UNITED AIRLINES BET ON FLORIDA, ADDING DOZENS OF FLIGHTS ON NOV. 6
Workers were told the plant was shutting down on Friday, which could have a ripple effect on the economy of central Virginia as factory suppliers lose business.
Construction of the plant was announced in 2007. The state offered an incentive package worth $ 57 million, most of it tied to employment and investment goals that the company should reach over 16 years.
The factory was originally supposed to test and assemble components for corporate jets, but the Great Recession caused Rolls-Royce to change its plans.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FOX BUSINESS
Then-President Barack Obama visited the plant in 2012 to present his proposal for a network of US research centers to foster competitiveness in manufacturing.