DURHAM – GE Aviation is laying off 10 percent of its workforce, the comapny announced early Monday. Some 400 people work at the big GE jet engine plant in Durham.

According to General Electric Chair and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., the cuts are being made due to the economic impact of the coronavirus.

GE has operated the Durham facility for nearly 27 years. It also has plants in Asheville and West Jefferson.

The layoffs are the latest to hit North Carolina as the coronavirus impact spreads.

Where the layoffs will be made across the division of GE was not disclosed.

“The aviation industry is feeling the impact of this global pandemic most acutely,” Culp said in a letter to employees.

“The rapid contraction of air travel has resulted in a significant reduction in demand as commercial airlines suspend routes and ground large percentages of their fleets.”

The firm noted the following steps, according to Culp, who also said he would give up his salary for the remainder of the year:

  • GE Aviation is planning to reduce approximately 10% of its total U.S. workforce.
  • There will be a temporary lack of work impacting approximately 50% of its U.S. maintenance, repair and overhaul employees for 90 days.
  • These actions build on those the business already has taken, including a hiring freeze, the cancellation of the salaried merit increase, a dramatic reduction of all non-essential spending, and a significant decrease in its contingent workforce.
  • Starting April 1, David Joyce, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Aviation, will forgo half of his salary.
  • Taken together, we expect these cost and cash actions will preserve $500 million to $1 billion in 2020.

Layoffs costing hundreds of people their jobs in NC but notices don’t capture true scope of cuts