Commercial and defence aerostructures manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems has announced plans to further reduce the workforce at its facility in Wichita, Kansas, US.

The move is in response to the recent announcement by Boeing to further decrease the production rate on the grounded 737 MAX amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Spirit will also reduce payroll on commercial programmes by 1,100 employees, of which 450 will be from the Wichita site.

In June, the firm decided to place some of its Boeing 737 MAX programme staff, including certain hourly employees at the facility on a 21-day unpaid temporary layoff/furlough.

Spirit AeroSystems president and CEO Tom Gentile said: “Our production rates for commercial aircraft have fallen from historic highs to significantly lower volumes in a matter of months.

“We are taking this action to better calibrate our employment level to the reduced demand we see from our customers.

“This action, along with previous actions, is intended to reduce costs, increase liquidity and position Spirit to remain financially healthy while we move through a period of recovery in the commercial aviation market.”

The Boeing 737 MAX production rate has been reduced for the third time this year, which subsequently affects Spirit’s production from 125 units to 72 units. This is equivalent to a reduction of more than 80% in production rates compared with last year.

Aircraft leasing company AerCap Holdings recently cancelled orders of 15 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as its pace of aircraft deliveries has slowed down due to the pandemic.

Boeing also revealed plans to stop production of 747 aircraft as it continues to adjust operations due to the crisis.