Aerial (copy)

An aerial view shows the Spirit AeroSystems facility in Tulsa on May 24, 2019. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World file

Spirit AeroSystems announced Friday layoffs of about 2,800 employees at its Wichita, Kansas, facility, adding that smaller workforce reductions are planned later this month at plants in Tulsa and McAlester.

Spirit is taking the move because of the suspension of Boeing 737 Max production and ongoing uncertainty on the pace of production when it does resume.

The company employs about 1,300 people in Tulsa and roughly 300 in McAlester.

The new cost for doing business in Tulsa.

For those who care about business and this community, we have a deal for you. Start a digital subscription for only $0.99. Sign up now at

Spirit is a significant supplier on the 737 Max program, with its workshare accounting for 70% of the airplane’s structure. This includes the entire fuselage, thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing components. In addition, the Max represents more than 50% of Spirit’s annual revenue.

Before the layoffs, Spirit employed about 13,000 people in Wichita, making it the city’s largest employer.

Spirit has not received notice from Boeing on how long the production suspension will last or what the production rate will be in the future. Spirit believes that, when production resumes, the levels will be lower than previously expected due, in part, to the customer’s need to consume more than 100 Max shipsets currently in storage at Spirit’s facilities.

In addition, Boeing has built several hundred MAX airplanes that haven’t been delivered to customers.

Based on final production rates agreed to with Boeing, Spirit may have to take additional workforce actions in the future.

“The difficult decision announced today is a necessary step given the uncertainty related to both the timing for resuming 737 MAX production and the overall production levels that can be expected following the production suspension,” Tom Gentile, Spirit AeroSystems president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are taking these actions to balance the interests of all of our stakeholders as a result of the grounding of the 737 MAX, while also positioning Spirit to meet future demand.”

Employees will receive compensation for the applicable 60-day notice period. Spirit’s Wichita employees affected by these layoffs will start leaving the company beginning January 22.

Spirit has taken steps to lessen the impact of expected layoffs, transferring some 737 Max employees to other programs where possible. Additionally, Spirit plans to facilitate job fairs with other aerospace companies to help laid-off employees transition to new jobs.

Featured video

Gallery: Tulsa International Airport through the years

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Rhett Morgan