The Boeing Co. is planning to lay off up to 30,000 employees in its commercial airplanes unit by the end of next year. The company said in a statement that the job cuts are necessary to meet the changing business environment following last week's terrorist attacks in the U.S.
The layoffs include employees at Boeing Shared Services Group in Bellevue, Washington, a group that includes many of Boeing's IT workers.
Chicago-based Boeing has 199,000 employees worldwide, 93,700 of them in its commercial airplanes division. Of those, 60,000 work at the company's Puget Sound, Washington plant.
Boeing spokesman Tom Ryan said the company did not yet know how many IT employees would be laid off, or how the layoffs would affect any future IT projects.
"Right now we just have the numbers, we don't have a breakout of those numbers," Ryan said.
In its statement, Boeing said the layoffs were necessitated by the expected reduction in air travel because of last week's terrorist attacks.
"We profoundly regret that these actions will impact the lives of so many of our highly valued employees," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in the statement. "However, it is critical that we take these necessary steps now to size the Commercial Airplanes business to support the difficult and uncertain environment faced by our airline customers."
Boeing also said it is working closely with federal authorities to improve air transport safety and security. The company said it has also launched an internal initiative under the direction of its chief technology officer to solicit and review ideas from Boeing engineers on how to improve these areas.
"The company is ready to apply all of its wide-ranging technological resources in stepping up to the challenges created by these tragic events," said Boeing chairman and CEO Phil Condit in the statement. "We are making tough business decisions and working closely with our commercial and government customers to rebuild public confidence in a safe and secure U.S. air transport system."