FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2019, file photo, an United Airlines Boeing 737 Max airplane takes off in the rain at Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2019, file photo, an United Airlines Boeing 737 Max airplane takes off in the rain at Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Layoffs climb in Washington aviation industry amid pandemic

“There’s no good news coming out of Boeing right now,” one company’s vice president of aerospace sales said.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Job losses in Washington’s aviation sector are climbing as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Swissport, which provides ground handling and fueling services for airlines, is laying off nearly 300 workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, The Seattle Times reported.

With international air travel not expected to recover soon, 131 of the Swissport layoffs are labeled permanent.

Toray Composites America announced 146 layoffs at its Frederickson plant near Tacoma, which has a workforce of roughly 600. The company supplies Boeing with the carbon fiber material for its composite airplane structures on the 787 and 777,

“It’s pretty dark,” said Tim Kirk, Toray’s vice president of aerospace sales. “There’s no good news coming out of Boeing right now.”

Kirk said the 787 Dreamliner is the airplane best positioned to recover sales. Still, he said, “demand for long-haul air travel is almost nonexistent now and will be slow to come back.”

And Boeing plans to cut almost 10,000 jobs.

While some of those cuts will be achieved through voluntary buyouts and retirements, the jet maker has issued July 31 layoff notices to 5,798 workers.

Additional Boeing supply firms announcing layoffs include 59 at Tool Gauge and Machine Works in Tacoma; 111 at Sekisui Aerospace at plants in Renton and Sumner; 59 at Pioneer Human Services in Seattle, and 72 at Cadence Aerospace, Giddens Industries in Everett.

After Japanese planemaker Mitsubishi Aircraft announced a severe cutback to its SpaceJet program and the shuttering of its U.S. operations, it has announced 240 layoffs in Renton and Moses Lake.

The list, which is not complete, already tallies nearly 6,900 jobs lost through layoffs.

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