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Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita’s largest employer, lays off roughly 300 workers

A Boeing 737 MAX 7 takes off at Renton in 2018. Boeing said Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, that it expects the Federal Aviation Administration to clear the grounded 737 MAX as safe to fly again in late December. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times/TNS)

Jun. 24—Spirit AeroSystems notified about 282 hourly employees that they were being laid off last week, according to a labor union representing those employees.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 839 said Thursday that 310 employees had their last day Thursday but will be paid through July 4 and receive their last check on July 11. Benefits would stay in place until July 31. Of the 310, 28 took a voluntary lay off.

Wichita’s largest employer told employees last month that it planned to lay off between 400 and 450 employees in Wichita in the coming weeks because of lagging delivery rates, which resulted from a stricter inspection process after a faulty door plug blew out of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max mid-flight in January.

“To adapt to evolving customer demands and balance our financial situation, Spirit made the difficult decision to reduce its hourly production workforce in Wichita, Kansas by approximately 300,” Spirit spokesperson Joe Buccino said in an email. “These changes were driven by the need to slow down our operations of Commercial programs due to high inventory levels.”

Spirit’s Wichita plant last had major layoffs in 2020, when 5,000 employees were let go amid flight groundings from the pandemic. Spirit’s peak Wichita employment was 13,200 before the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX in 2019 after two crashes killed 346 people.

Spirit currently has about 12,000 employees in Wichita.

Contributing: Matthew Kelly with The Eagle


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