Boeing says it will lay off 800 machinists this year

Boeing Co said on Friday it would lay off about 800 machinists this year as it reduces its workforce on its 747 and 787 airplane programs.

The reductions are part of a long-term plan and don't necessarily signal any shifts in production rates for either airplane, the company said.

Boeing is doubling its output of 787 Dreamliner jets, even though the plane is grounded and cannot be delivered to customers. Boeing aims to produce 10 a month by year-end.

All 800 people being laid off are represented by the International Association of Machinists. A union spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Those positions would be the only layoffs as the Chicago-based company cuts employment by 2,000 to 2,300 this year at its Boeing Commercial Airplanes unit in the Puget Sound region, Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said. The rest of the reductions will be through attrition and redeployment, he said.

The layoffs will mainly affect machinists doing so-called change incorporation work, or reworking aircraft that have left the factory, for the 787 and 747 programs in Everett, Washington. The amount of such work declines after production kinks get worked out, Alder said.

More broadly, Alder said, Boeing plans to hire 8,000 to 10,000 other workers this year across the company and expects total employment to be steady or slightly lower across the company at the end of the year.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby and Alwyn Scott; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)