The world’s largest plane manufacturer, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), plans to cut more than 4,500 jobs by June, as part of an accelerated cost cutting push. A majority of the layoffs will target staff at the commercial aircraft division.
A company representative says Boeing’s commercial unit will cut 2,400 positions through attrition, and 1600 other cuts will be through voluntary layoffs. The cuts will also affect high-ranking official including managers and executives. The company also plans to slim its flight-testing unit.
Boeing expects the cuts to reduce its workforce by 2.8% from highs of 161,000 people as of last year. It will not be the first time that the company has targeted its workforce as part of a cost-saving push. Early this year the plane maker cut 1,200 positions in its commercial jet unit.
The company is hoping to use the cuts to calm investors who remains wary of the impact low oil prices could have on earnings. Boeing also faces a mounting task to deliver on cash flow pledges as it tries to recover $30 billion in costs used to develop the 787 Dreamliner.
The plane maker has taken a hit in the recent past as customers continue to cut back on orders for expensive jetliners. Demand for single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft on the other hand remains strong even as Boeing moves to trim its workforce. However, concerns that the company is losing market share to rival Airbus could have prompted the cuts.
Boeing is under increasing pressure to deliver less-expensive jetliners as airlines continue to pursue cost-savings initiatives. As a result, the company has been forced to offer steep price cuts in a bid to fend off competition from Airbus and win more deals.
Last year the company delivered a record 762 planes exceeding an initial forecast. A fall in orders is now a point of concern, which could make it hard for the company to repeat last year’s achievement. Customers more so from Middle East and Asia are cutting back on orders after years of aggressive spending.