Mesa impact unclear in Boeing layoffs - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Mesa impact unclear in Boeing layoffs

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Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 2:30 pm | Updated: 12:39 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Boeing Co. said Wednesday it will cut 10,000 jobs corporatewide this year as the aerospace company reported a big fourth-quarter loss.

The job cuts include 4,500 positions being eliminated at its Seattle-based commercial aircraft business, which was announced earlier this month.

On Wednesday, executives said they will cut an additional 5,500 jobs in other parts of the company, including its defense businesses, through attrition and layoffs throughout this year.

A spokesman said it's too soon to know if the company will trim any jobs in Mesa, where the company assembles the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. The company employs about 4,700 people in Arizona, most at the Mesa factory.

"We are expecting we will look at costs across the entire business," said spokesman John Dern. "Part of that will be in support (administrative) functions and in other areas as well."

A majority of the losses could be handled through attrition, but some layoffs will be needed, he said.

The company has a normal attrition rate of 4 percent to 5 percent annually, which means up to 8,000 of the job losses could be covered that way, he said. But he added that "layoffs unfortunately will be part of the mix."

Boeing employs a total of 160,000 people worldwide.

Company officials told employees in November that reductions this year could exceed the normal attrition level, and "today we put a number to that," Dern said.

The Chicago-based company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $56 million, or 8 cents per share, on Wednesday. That compared with profit of $1.03 billion, or $1.36 per share, a year earlier. Results were dragged down by charges totaling $1.79 per share, including the effects of a now-settled machinists strike.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected earnings of 78 cents in the fourth quarter, excluding charges.

Fourth-quarter revenue fell 27 percent to $12.68 billion. Passenger and cargo jet deliveries fell by more than half as a strike by production workers paralyzed the company's commercial aircraft operations for 58 days through early November.

Looking ahead, Boeing expects per-share earnings of $5.05 to $5.35 for 2009, short of the $5.68 forecast by analysts. Boeing's 2009 revenue outlook of $68 billion to $69 billion was in line with expectations.

At Mesa, work has been steady with manufacturing of new-generation Apaches for the U.S. Army and foreign customers. Also, the company is preparing for the next generation of improvements to the attack helicopter, with first deliveries to the U.S. Army scheduled in 2011.

The Mesa factory was not affected by the strike.

In November Boeing further delayed the first test flight and delivery of its much-anticipated 787 jetliner, the world's first large commercial airplane made mostly from carbon-fiber composites, blaming the strike and lingering production problems.

New orders for commercial jets declined by half in 2008 as demand for air travel declined due to the recession. Still, Boeing has a record order backlog of 3,700 planes, including 895 orders for the 787.

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