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Boeing is laying off more than 6,000 employees this week as coronavirus hurts demand

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A Boeing 737 MAX 9 is pictured outside the factory in Renton, Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Boeing is planning to lay off more than 6,000 employees this week in an effort to slash costs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the air travel and aerospace industries.

The aircraft manufacturer previously said it is seeking to reduce its headcount by 10%, through voluntary and involuntary separations from the company. Boeing had more than 160,000 employees, according to its 2019 annual report. 

“Following the reduction-in-force announcement we made last month, we have concluded our voluntary layoff (VLO) program,” CEO Dave Calhoun said in a note to employees. “And now we have come to the unfortunate moment of having to start involuntary layoffs (ILO). We’re notifying the first 6,770 of our U.S. team members this week that they will be affected.”

The virus has driven down demand for air travel, hurting the airline and leasing customers Boeing relies on. Airlines are posting their first losses in years and the virus has sapped demand for new planes, a trend that is affecting both Boeing and its main rival, Europe’s Airbus.

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