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Boeing to cut thousands of additional jobs through 2021 as it prepares for long air travel slump

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2019.

Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

Boeing on Wednesday said it would cut thousands of additional jobs through the end of next year as it prepares for weaker aircraft demand for years to come because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s revenue came in ahead of estimates but the company is still struggling as virus and a plunge in air travel hurts demand for new aircraft.

Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun told employees that the company aims to have a staff of 130,000 by the end of 2021. Earlier this year, Boeing targeted a 10% cut to its staff, which stood at 160,000 people at the start of the year.

“As we align to market realities, our business units and functions are carefully making staffing decisions to prioritize natural attrition and stability in order to limit the impact on our people and our company,” CEO Dave Calhoun said in a staff note. “We anticipate a workforce of about 130,000 employees by the end of 2021. Throughout this process, we will communicate with you every step of the way.”

The announcement came after the company reported third-quarter results.

Here are the numbers: 

  • Loss: $1.39 per share, vs. $2.52 a share expected by Refinitive’s consensus estimates
  • Revenue:  $14.1 billion, vs. $13.9 billion expected

Boeing was also expected to report negative free cash flow of $5.4 billion, slightly less than the previous quarter’s negative $5.6 billion, according to FactSet.

The pandemic’s impact on air travel demand, which is still not back to half of last year’s levels, has worsened Boeing’s crisis, which started two years ago with the first of two crashes of its best-selling aircraft, the 737 Max.

Regulators are at the tail-end of the planes’ review but have still not signed off on them, preventing Boeing from delivering them to customers and crimping its cash flow as a result.

Boeing executives will detail their results on a 10:30 a.m. ET call.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.


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