Boeing reduces 777X contract engineers

EVERETT — The Boeing Co. slimmed down the number of contract engineers working on the 777X earlier this month.

At least a few dozen engineers were let go Dec. 15 when their contracts expired. The cuts followed similar ones this past fall and were expected, as previously reported by The Daily Herald.

The aerospace giant’s commercial airplane division cut nearly 7,000 jobs this year to help pare back expenses — and improve the unit’s bottom line. Company leaders said Monday that more job cuts likely are coming in 2017.

Development programs, including the 777X, have some insulation from such broad cost-cutting measures.

The 777X program’s staffing numbers are driven by the airplane’s development schedule, said Eric Lindblad, head of Boeing’s 777X program.

The new airplane is on schedule to begin production of test aircraft in 2017, he said.

Many of the latest contractors let go were working as design engineers on the new airplane, according to engineers familiar with the program but not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes has cut the number of contractors working in engineering and other technical jobs, according to data from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

The division had about 230 contractors in those positions in late November. It is expected to have fewer than 100 by early January, a SPEEA spokesman said.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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