Boeing is set to lay off more than 200 workers from its Melbourne Fishermans Bend plant.
The site designs and manufacturers structural composite components for Boeing’s commercial airplanes, employing more than 1,000 people.
Boeing Australia president Brendan Nelson told The Sydney Morning Herald, “This is clearly a very difficult time for our industry, our customers, and our employees. I deeply regret the impact that this will have on our teammates and their families during an already stressful time.”
The American planemaker’s Victorian base is the sole supplier of 787 Dreamliner moveable trailing edges, comprised of an inboard flap, flaperon, outboard flap and aileron.
When the site was awarded the deal in February 2006, it was Australia’s largest aerospace contract, valued at more than $5 billion over 20 years.
Australian Aviation’s sister publication, World of Aviation, reported on Thursday that for the three months ending 31 March this year, Boeing posted a net loss of US$641 million. By comparison, the same period in 2019 netted Boeing a total profit of US$2.14 billion.
To cope with both crises, the company has taken on an additional US$5 billion in private equity and secured financing. In turn, this has distressed share values, which have plummeted towards the latter half of Q1.
“Boeing sees significant impact on the demand for new commercial airplanes and services, with airlines delaying purchases for new jets, slowing delivery schedules and deferring elective maintenance,” stated a company spokesman.
“To align the business for the new market reality, Boeing is taking several actions that include reducing commercial airplane production rates. The company also announced a leadership and organisational restructuring to streamline roles and responsibilities, and plans to reduce overall staffing levels with a voluntary layoff program and additional workforce actions as necessary.”