Boeing Co. said Tuesday it has plans to slash as many as 30,000 jobs by the end of next year, the most potent economic shock to a single U.S. corporation resulting from last week's terrorist attacks.
The world's largest commercial aircraft maker, reeling from one of the worst downturns in the history of the airline industry, said the prospective layoffs are in response to an anticipated sharp drop -- as much as 26 percent -- in orders over the next year for commercial airplanes.
Airlines, suffering from a slide in air travel in the aftermath of four hijackings Sept. 11, have disclosed 26,000 job cuts, but warned the losses may rise to 100,000 in the future. The financial turmoil is rapidly spreading across the economy, hitting almost every sector.
Boeing did not indicate where the cuts would be made, but the company's commercial aircraft manufacturing operations are centered in Seattle, with other major operations in Wichita, Kan., and Long Beach, Calif. The company this year delivered another blow to Seattle's business establishment when it transferred its corporate headquarters to Chicago.
A Boeing spokesman said the job losses would occur "across the board," indicating that some cutbacks would extend to support staffs and possibly noncommercial aircraft businesses. Attrition could account for some of the cutbacks, he added.
The job losses, if fully implemented, would reduce the company's 199,000-person work force by 15 percent but would represent about 33 percent of its commercial aircraft personnel.
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