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Boeing Looks to Cut Workforce Beyond Original Targets

By Lou Whiteman – Updated Aug 18, 2020 at 9:11AM

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The company is bracing for an extended downturn in commercial aerospace.

Boeing (BA 4.03%) is looking to cut its workforce beyond the 10% target announced back in April as the aerospace giant braces for a prolonged downturn in its commercial operations.

In a memo to employees first reported by Bloomberg, CEO David Calhoun said Boeing will offer a second round of buyouts to employees in an attempt to "align to our new reality, preserve liquidity, and position ourselves for the eventual return to growth."

Boeing's 747 in flight.

Boeing's 747. The end of its production run is part of cost-cutting at Boeing. Image source: Boeing.

Airlines have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn is eating into demand for new aircraft. Boeing laid off 6,770 workers in May as part of broader cost-cutting that also includes scaling back production plans as far out as 2022, including delaying the introduction of the 777X and ending production of its storied 747 jumbo jet.

Bloomberg said that Boeing has been reevaluating its workforce as it plans to deal with the downturn, hoping to reduce overall employment by about 19,000, but also at the same time hiring in its defense and space division. Defense has secured a number of big contracts in recent years, and as commercial dries out will be an increasingly important source of revenue.

Boeing earlier this year raised $25 billion in fresh debt to fortify its balance sheet and shouldn't run into danger even with commercial sales declining. But with such an important part of its business wounded, investors should think twice before buying in right now.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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