US PLANEMAKER Boeing plans to shut a small defence plant that had been earmarked to make parts for the 747-8 jumbo jet, adding to a tally of almost 6,700 layoffs since the start of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The aerospace group told the plant's workforce of the move this week, though the head of the 747-8 programme said in a message to employees that it wasn't a sign that Boeing planned to end jumbo production 'in the near term".
Boeing last year said it planned to create up to 200 new jobs at the Macon, Georgia, facility by insourcing work on making fuselage panels for the jumbo jet, but has reversed course after cutting 747 output to just six a year and flagging it may end production altogether.
The Macon facility's work on military aircraft is due to run out in December, and the workforce has shrunk to 120 from about 500 in 2011. The 747-8 work was due to be transferred from Triumph Group Inc, which Boeing said remains under contract for the business through the end of decade.
'We determined that there is not currently a business case to place 747 work in Macon, and the slower production rate gives us more time to make a work placement decision," said 747-8 general manager Bruce Dickinson in the message to staff.
The company reports third quarter earnings on October 26, with analysts expecting it may trim production rates on the existing 777 plane ahead of the introduction of a revamped model.
Source : HKSG.