So much for soft landings. Aerospace giant Boeing(NYSE: BA) announced that it will need to let another 5,000 employees go over the next year. The company had already trimmed its payroll by 30,000 workers since last year's terrorist attacks rattled the airline industry.

That's where Boeing finds itself today, being pulled in two completely different directions. In terms of its commercial aircraft business, things couldn't get much worse. Since the events of 9/11, the major carriers have had to scale back. Travel, especially business-class and international trips, just isn't what it used to be.

Eliminating roughly 20% of their scheduled flights has translated into lower demand for new planes and a longer useable life for their existing fleet. Airlines like UAL's(NYSE: UAL) United and AMR's(NYSE: AMR) American have canceled or deferred orders.

For Boeing, that has meant holding back on 500 deliveries, or roughly the same number of jetliners it delivered just last year. Even worse, competitors such as Airbus have taken to drastic price cuts to win the little business that's out there to win.

Ironically, the same tragic events that have placed its commercial aircraft in a holding pattern have fueled a surge in military spending. While the company lost out to Lockheed Martin(NYSE: LMT) on the lucrative Joint Strike Fighter contract last year, it's clearly in the thick of things as the country braces for the possibility of war with Iraq.

But with projected commercial aircraft deliveries expected to fall to as low as just 275 jets next year, it's easy to see why Boeing can't keep its workforce intact in the near term. Let's just hope the displaced don't stray too far away. In a couple of years, the pent-up demand is going to swell nicely for Boeing. But are you patient enough to wait that long until the control tower clears you for takeoff?