Spirit AeroSystems SPR supplier,
announced a new round of layoffs on Friday night, putting it on the latest drop in the production rate of Boeing’s 737 Max planes and the continuing impact of the pandemic on new commercial aircraft and the airline industry in general. Spirit will downsize its commercial aircraft program by 1,100 employees, resulting in 450 new layoffs at its main plant in Kansas after factoring in previous layoffs, reassignment of employees to defense programs and temporary special projects in the construction of fans and buyouts. “Our production rates for commercial aircraft have gone from historic levels to significantly lower volumes in a matter of months,” Managing Director Tom Gentile said in a statement. “We are taking this action to better calibrate our level of employment based on the reduced demand we are seeing from our customers. The 737 Max’s production rate has been reduced for the third time this year, lowering Spirit’s production to 72 jets from 125 jets in 2020, a reduction of over 80% from 2019 production rates, a declared the company. Spirit manufactures the 737 Max fuselage and other components. The family of planes has been grounded since March 2019 following two fatal accidents less than five months apart, blamed on a faulty anti-stall system. Boeing said the plane will return to service later this year after hardware and software changes and an ongoing recertification process.