CHICAGO (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Thursday it would lay off 1,100 workers who make the company’s C-17 cargo plane, as it scales down assembly rates to extend the life of the production line.
Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling said layoff notices would go out starting Friday to workers in Long Beach, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; and Macon, Georgia. The 1,100 workers represent about 24 percent of the total employees on Boeing’s C-17 line.
The company said last year it would cut its C-17 production rate to 10 a year from 15 due to a recent decrease in domestic orders.
“This is a very difficult decision the company had to make with regards to the workforce,” Drelling said.
Boeing’s C-17 has long been a lightning rod for controversy as the Pentagon pressures Congress to stop ordering the plane.
Boeing has said, however, that the international market for the C-17 is strong and that it has received solid interest from India and Kuwait.
“What we’re really trying to do is extend the life of the production line so we can capture additional international orders,” Drelling said.
Shares of Boeing, a Dow component, were off 2 cents at $71.71 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Kyle Peterson, editing by Gerald E. McCormick