Boeing to offer voluntary layoffs to employees to overcome consequences of coronavirus

SEATTLE Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun outlined a voluntary employee layoff plan Thursday, warning that the coronavirus pandemic would have a lasting impact on the global aerospace industry.

Under the plan, eligible employees who want to leave the company will be offered a pay and benefits package, Calhoun said in a memo.

We are in unknown waters. We are taking action based on what we know today, Calhoun said.

We're also doing everything we can ... That means continuing to deliver for our business and service customers, even when their own businesses slow down.

The company's shares rose approximately 3% in trade before the bell.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that an announcement about early retirement and purchase packages could arrive as early as Thursday.

Boeing, which calls itself America's largest exporter, has some 150,000 employees worldwide, nearly half of whom are clustered around marquee factories in Seattle's Puget Sound region.

The purchase plan comes three weeks after the US aircraft maker. USA Say it would freeze hiring and overtime pay, except in certain critical areas to conserve cash.

The coronavirus pandemic has compounded the year-old crisis over the grounding of Boeing 's 737 MAX following fatal crashes that killed 346 people in a five-month span.

Boeing halted 737 production in January.

Last week, Boeing halted operations at its twin-aisle factory and other facilities around Seattle after more than a dozen employees were infected - at least one fatally - by the virus that causes COVID-19.

It will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from the crisis, Calhoun said.

Boeing has called for a $ 60 billion bailout package, including loan guarantees, for the struggling US aerospace manufacturing industry.