Boeing said employment at its Commercial Aeroplane business is expected to decline by approximately 4,500 positions in 2009, while reporting that its unfilled order book has reached 3,700 units.
The reduction in employment numbers will bring its staff level to approximately 63,500, similar to the level it was at the start of 2008.
Commercial Aeroplanes has begun a program to reduce overhead costs and discretionary spending. Although normal attrition and a reduction in contract labour will account for some of the job reductions, layoffs of Boeing employees also are necessary, the company said.
“Many of the job reductions will be in overhead functions and other areas not directly associated with aircraft production. This will enable Boeing to continue focusing on successfully executing new aircraft development programs, delivering aircraft to customers, continuously improving productivity and quality, and supporting customer aircrafts in the fleet,” the company said.
Most of the reductions are expected to occur in Washington state in the second quarter of the year. Affected employees will receive 60-day notices beginning in late February. Boeing will support laid-off employees with layoff benefits and career-transition services.
At the same time, the Boeing Company in 2008 recorded 662 net commercial aircraft orders, bringing its backlog of unfilled commercial orders to more than 3,700 aircrafts.
The Next-Generation 737 remained the company’s best seller, with 484 chosen last year by customers from nearly every region of the world. Demand for the all-new 787 Dreamliner also remained strong with 93 ordered, primarily by Middle East customers.
The twin-aisle 777 captured 54 orders from customers in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia. The 767-300ER (Extended Range) logged 28 orders, and the 747-8 Intercontinental added three to the orders list.
During 2008, 375 aircraft were delivered to customers worldwide: 290 737s (including six Boeing Business Jets), 14 747s, 10 767s and 61 777s. Deliveries were affected by a strike that halted commercial production for several weeks.
Boeing also debuted the first 777 Freighter and began flight testing on that program, while the first P-8A Poseidon – a derivative of the Next-Generation 737 for use by the U.S. Navy – completed final assembly. In June, the first 767 Boeing Converted Freighter was delivered, 1 of 26 freighter conversions completed during the year. And, major structural and systems tests were successfully completed on the 787 Dreamliner.