By Nick Gosnell
Wichita's largest employer faces large layoffs in light of uncertainty over when 737 MAX jets will return to service. Spirit AeroSystems plans to lay off more than 20% of its workforce in Wichita.
CEO Tom Gentile said in a Friday release that 2,800 workers would be laid off, with the possibility of more to follow based on what final production rates are agreed with Boeing.
Spirit builds the fuselage, thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing components on the 737 MAX. That program accounts for more than 50% of its more than $7 billion annual revenue. Its workshare accounts for 70% of the airplane's structure.
Spirit also plans cuts in Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma. Employees will receive compensation for the applicable 60-day notice period. Spirit’s Wichita employees affected by these layoffs will start exiting the company beginning January 22.