Boeing announces it is going to cut jobs in commercial airplane unit to drive down costs

SEATTLE (AP) — The Boeing Co. says it will be eliminating commercial airplane jobs as part of a cost-cutting effort.

The company provided no specific numbers but Doug Alder, spokesman for the aerospace giant, said in a statement Wednesday the company would begin the reductions with executives and managers. Alder said the reductions would ultimately affect "employment levels across all" of the commercial airplane unit. Attrition and voluntary layoffs would be used at first. However Alder said "involuntary layoffs may be necessary."

"To win in the market, fund our growth and operate as a healthy business, we are taking thoughtful steps to reduce the cost of designing and building our airplanes, part of which involves evaluating our employment levels across all of Commercial Airplanes," Alder said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. "We will start reducing employment levels beginning with executives and managers first.

"We will also use attrition and voluntary layoffs. As a last resort, involuntary layoffs may be necessary. The overall employment impact will depend on how effectively we bring down costs as a whole," Alder said.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner announced the job action in a webcast to all employees.

Boeing approached the International Association of Machinists union last week to discuss a voluntary layoff program. Union spokesman Bryan Corliss told the newspaper the company has provided no details.