WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Spirit AeroSystems announced Friday it will reduce employment at sites supporting commercial programs as a result of lower demand for commercial airplanes.

Spirit AeroSystems is a supplier to Airbus and Boeing, both of which announced lower production rates for commercial aircraft due to the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry.

“Our actions follow reduced demand from our customers, who have lowered production rates as demand for new airplanes declines due to the impact of COVID-19,” said Tom Gentile, President and CEO, Spirit AeroSystems. “In addition to reducing employment, we are taking other initiatives to lower costs and preserve liquidity, which included raising $1.2 billion in high yield secured second lien bonds in April. We are focused on ensuring Spirit AeroSystems remains a healthy business and emerges from this crisis with a bright future.”

Earlier this week Spirit AeroSystems offered a voluntary layoff to union-represented employees in Wichita as part of the overall employment reduction

On Friday, Spirit issued a notice to the State of Kansas under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of layoffs affecting approximately 1,450 hourly and salaried employees at its site in Wichita. Spirit’s Wichita employees affected by these layoffs are expected to begin exiting the company on May 15. 

Spirit AeroSystems stated smaller reductions will occur at Spirit’s remaining U.S. sites that perform commercial work later this month. They said their global sites are reviewing workforce requirements and will announce their plans in the coming weeks.

Spirit shared their work on defense programs will not be impacted by their latest announced employment reductions and those operations will continue uninterrupted. They added some employees currently supporting commercial programs may be transferred to available defense work, mitigating the number of employees who may be affected by these workforce actions.