Commercial and defence aerostructure designer and builder Spirit AeroSystems has decided to lay off employees as commercial aircraft demand shrinks due to the Covid-19.

Spirit AeroSystems supplies components to aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing. Both companies have reduced production rates for commercial aircraft due to the impact of the pandemic.

Spirit has already offered voluntary layoff to union-represented employees in Wichita, Kansas, US.

According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, the company issued a notice to the State of Kansas. The job cuts will affect 1,450 hourly and salaried employees at the site in Wichita.

Employees affected by the decision are expected to leave the company starting on 15 May.

Additionally, employment reductions will take place at Spirit’s remaining commercial programme sites in the US later this month. The number of reductions will be small.

The company is also reviewing workforce requirements at its international sites. It is expected to reveal plans, if any, in the next few weeks.

Spirit AeroSystems president and CEO Tom Gentile said: “Our actions follow reduced demand from our customers, who have lowered production rates as demand for new aeroplanes declines due to the impact of Covid-19.

“In addition to reducing employment, we are taking other initiatives to lower costs and preserve liquidity, which included raising $1.2bn in high-yield secured second lien bonds in April. We are focused on ensuring Spirit AeroSystems remains a healthy business and emerges from this crisis with a bright future.”

Meanwhile, Spirit has established a partnership to manufacture medical devices at the facility in Wichita during the pandemic.

The company is transferring approximately 700 employees to the project, which is expected to last until October.

Spirit’s defence programmes will remain unaffected by the layoffs.