Aerostructures manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems announced on Friday that it will lay off approximately 1,450 employees at its headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, due to the drop in demand for commercial airplanes caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Spirit supplies companies including Boeing and Airbus, both of which recently announced production rate cuts. The layoffs are expected to go into effect beginning May 15.
“Our actions follow reduced demand from our customers, who have lowered production rates as demand for new airplanes declines due to the impact of COVID-19,” said Spirit AeroSystems CEO Tom Gentile. “In addition to reducing employment, we are taking other initiatives to lower costs and preserve liquidity, which included raising $1.2 billion in high yield secured second lien bonds in April.”
According to Spirit, around 700 Wichita-based employees will be transferred to a special project manufacturing medical devices. The company is also looking at transferring some commercial employees to its defense programs. Spirit says it is currently reviewing workforce requirements at its sites in the U.K., France and Malaysia and will announce further plans in the next few weeks.