Boeing Co.’s plan to cut 4,000 jobs from its commercial-airplane division, the company’s largest, accelerates an effort to reap billions of dollars in savings to compete with Airbus Group SE while reducing costs on the 787 Dreamliner.
Pink slips aren’t flying, for now, as the U.S. planemaker pares the unit’s workforce by 4.8 percent and hunts for savings from its supply chain to its factory floors, Marc Birtel, a Boeing spokesman, said by e-mail. About 1,600 workers elected to leave the company under a voluntary program announced last month. Another 2,400 positions are either vacant or will be shed through attrition.
The commercial airplane division, which accounted for 61 percent of Boeing’s 2015 profit, also is eliminating white-collar jobs and flattening its management structure to create a “more streamlined and nimble organization that can respond to marketplace demands,” he said.
The effort to revamp Boeing’s sprawling commercial jetliner manufacturing unit comes as new Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg starts to make his mark at Boeing. In a previous role as chief of the defense unit, he cut the division’s annual costs by $3 billion to bolster profits amid constrained government spending.
Airbus outsold Boeing last year, benefiting from strong demand for the European planemaker’s A321neo narrowbody and currency swings that lowered euro-based manufacturing costs. Airbus netted 1,036 jetliner orders to 868 for Boeing.