Boeing to offer voluntary layoffs amid coronavirus crisis

Andrew Cummings
April 4, 2020

Boeing offering buyout and early retirement packages to employees as it works to combat the impact on its business of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 that has grounded airlines around the world and decreased demand for new planes, according to media reports Thursday.

The program would allow eligible workers to walk away from the company with a pay and benefits package.

Calhoun said the company is adjusting to its "new reality" through natural turnover and voluntary actions.

He said employees will get more specific information on the voluntary offers in coming weeks. "We're taking actions based on what we know today", Calhoun said.

The coronavirus pandemic has compounded the year-old crisis over the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max following fatal crashes that killed 346 people in a five-month span.

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a letter to workers that "it will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from this crisis".

Boeing, which calls itself the US's largest exporter, has some 161,000 employees worldwide, almost half of whom are clustered around marquee factories in Seattle's Puget Sound region.

As the pandemic worsened in March, Boeing suspended its dividend and temporarily halted production at its Everett, Wash., factory. A $2 trillion economic relief package that was signed into law last week includes a $17 billion loan program for which Boeing may be eligible, but it's not yet clear how much the company will receive from that program or other federal aid.

Shares of the company were up about 3 per cent in trading before the bell.

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