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caption: A Boeing worker walks near a 737 MAX jet in Renton, Wash.
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A Boeing worker walks near a 737 MAX jet in Renton, Wash.
Credit: AP

Boeing to cut 15% of workforce after financial losses

Boeing said Wednesday that it will cut about 15% of the workforce in its commercial airplanes business. It's a big blow for the Puget Sound region.

That includes cuts at plants building the 787 Dreamliner and the 777.

For the 787, Boeing said it would cut the rate that it is constructing its planes in half by 2022.

(Read CEO David Calhoun's message to employees.)

Shutdowns of Seattle-area plants contributed to a company-wide loss of $641 million for the first quarter. Vice President Greg Smith said Boeing still hasn’t seen all of the pain for the jet-building operation.

"We expect to see additional abnormal costs in the second quarter related to suspension of our Puget Sound and also our Charleston sites due to Covid-19 through April and early May," Smith said on an earnings call Wednesday morning.

Boeing had already been dealing with the crisis over the 737 MAX, which has been grounded for more than a year after two fatal crashes. The company said it's hoping to resume deliveries of that jet in the third quarter, if it gets regulatory approval for the 737 MAX to fly again.

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said the numbers could have been worse.

“I think they were a bit better than expected,” he said. “The most important thing is production guidance. The end-use market has basically collapsed. But they were still able to keep production going at a better than expected rate.”