In this Dec. 11, 2019 photo, a Boeing 737 Max taxis for a test flight at Renton Municipal Airport in Renton. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

In this Dec. 11, 2019 photo, a Boeing 737 Max taxis for a test flight at Renton Municipal Airport in Renton. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Spirit lays off 2,800 in Wichita due to Boeing production cut

The company expects to conduct further layoffs “later this month” at two factories in Oklahoma.

By Aaron Gregg / The Washington Post

Citing “ongoing uncertainty” involving Boeing’s 737 Max jet, airplane parts supplier Spirit Aerosystems has sent layoff notices to roughly 2,800 employees at its plant in Wichita, Kansas.

About half of Spirit’s annual revenue comes from supplying parts for the Max, which has been grounded for months following two fatal crashes. In December, Boeing announced it would indefinitely halt production of the Max beginning in January.

Spirit builds the 737 Max’s entire fuselage as well as smaller components such as thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing components.

The company said in its release that Boeing has not told it how long the production suspension will last, or given it any information about what future production rates might look like. Boeing, in turn, is waiting for word from the Federal Aviation Administration for word on when the planes will be cleared to fly again.

“Spirit is taking this action because of the 737 Max production suspension and ongoing uncertainty regarding the timing of when production will resume and the level of production when it does resume,” Spirit said in a news release. “This decision allows Spirit to begin aligning its cost structure to the production suspension and, after such suspension, what Spirit expects will be production levels lower than Spirit’s levels in 2019.”

The company expects to conduct further layoffs “later this month” at two factories in Oklahoma. There could be further layoffs after that, the company said in its announcement.

The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded since March after regulators concluded that equipment flaws played a role in a pair of deadly plane crashes that killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia. For more than a year, Boeing has been working on a set of fixes designed to make the plane safer. But the timeline for clearing them to fly again has continually been pushed back as more technical problems were discovered.

In December, the Chicago-based aerospace giant announced it would stop producing the 737 Max in January, roughly 10 months after global regulators grounded the planes. Boeing has described its production halt “the least disruptive decision to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health,” and pledged to work with suppliers to lessen the impact when possible.

The decision quickly rippled through the global aviation industry. Southwest Airlines, the largest 737 Max customer, announced it would cancel approximately 300 flights a day through the busy holiday travel season. American Airlines is telling customers it expects the jet to be recertified by April 7. And United Airlines, another 737 Max customer, announced it would pull flights through June 4, the longest period of any airline.

The ban on deliveries has been costly for Boeing, leading it to a historically bad quarterly loss of $3.38 billion last year. Revenue fell $20 billion in the most recent quarter, a 21 percent drop from the previous year.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Business

Reed Macdonald, magniX CEO. Photo: magniX
Everett-based magniX appoints longtime aerospace exec as new CEO

Reed Macdonald will take the helm at a pivotal time for the company that builds electric motors for airplanes.

People walk along a newly constructed bridge at the Big Four Ice Caves hike along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Check out the best tourist attractions in Snohomish County

Here’s a taste of what to do and see in Snohomish County, from shopping to sky diving.

People walk out of the Columbia Clearance Store at Seattle Premium Outlets on Thursday, April 25, 2024 in Quil Ceda Village, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Head to Tulalip for retail recreation at Seattle Premium Outlets

The outlet mall has over 130 shops. You might even bring home a furry friend.

Brandon Baker, deputy director for the Port of Edmonds, shows off the port's new logo. Credit: Port of Edmonds
A new logo sets sail for the Port of Edmonds

Port officials say after 30 years it was time for a new look

Penny Clark, owner of Travel Time of Everett Inc., at her home office on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
In a changing industry, travel agents ‘so busy’ navigating modern travel

While online travel tools are everywhere, travel advisers still prove useful — and popular, says Penny Clark, of Travel Time in Arlington.

Travis Furlanic shows the fluorescent properties of sulfur tuft mushrooms during a Whidbey Wild Mushroom Tour at Tilth Farmers Market on Saturday, April 27, 2024 in Langley, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
On Whidbey Island, local fungi forager offers educational mushroom tours

Every spring and fall, Travis Furlanic guides groups through county parks. His priority, he said, is education.

ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Mifthakof, left, shows Gov. Jay Inslee a hydrogen-powered motor during an event at ZeroAvia’s new Everett facility on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, near Paine Field in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
ZeroAvia’s new Everett center ‘a huge step in decarbonizing’ aviation

The British-American company, which is developing hydrogen-electric powered aircraft, expects one day to employ hundreds at the site.

Allan and Frances Peterson, a woodworker and artist respectively, stand in the door of the old horse stable they turned into Milkwood on Sunday, March 31, 2024, in Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Old horse stall in Index is mini art gallery in the boonies

Frances and Allan Peterson showcase their art. And where else you can buy a souvenir Index pillow or dish towel?

Everett
Red Robin to pay $600K for harassment at Everett location

A consent decree approved Friday settles sexual harassment and retaliation claims by four victims against the restaurant chain.

magniX employees and staff have moved into the company's new 40,000 square foot office on Seaway Boulevard on Monday, Jan. 18, 2020 in Everett, Washington. magniX consolidated all of its Australia and Redmond operations under one roof to be home to the global headquarters, engineering, manufacturing and testing of its electric propulsion systems.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Harbour Air plans to buy 50 electric motors from Everett company magniX

One of the largest seaplane airlines in the world plans to retrofit its fleet with the Everett-built electric propulsion system.

Simreet Dhaliwal speaks after winning during the 2024 Snohomish County Emerging Leaders Awards Presentation on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Simreet Dhaliwal wins The Herald’s 2024 Emerging Leaders Award

Dhaliwal, an economic development and tourism specialist, was one of 12 finalists for the award celebrating young leaders in Snohomish County.

Lynnwood
New Jersey company acquires Lynnwood Land Rover dealership

Land Rover Seattle, now Land Rover Lynnwood, has been purchased by Holman, a 100-year-old company.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.