SEATTLE, WA: Boeing's commercial airplane unit's PR team is working
with airline partners to restore confidence in flying, simultaneously
handling hundreds of calls concerning layoffs of up to 30,000
The company announced the layoffs last week, blaming them on anticipated
declines in the travel market.
Boeing's corporate headquarters, which includes the corporate PR team,
finalized its Chicago move last month. Each of Boeing's three major
business units was given greater autonomy, and PR teams expected to take
The company has also been keen to show the Seattle and Puget Sound areas
that even though the headquarters is now in Chicago, it is still an
active part of the Pacific Northwest community.
But the region will likely be severely hurt by the layoffs, which will
take place by the end of 2002. Out of 93,700 employees in the division,
about 60,000 of those are based in the Puget Sound and Seattle
The past weeks have been a severe test for the PR team in the commercial
airplanes unit. All four hijacked airplanes were built by Boeing, and
the unit has had to make decisions based on a business environment that
is irretrievably altered.
"There has never been anything like it. September 11 changed aviation
forever," said Tom Ryan, manager of media relations for the commercial
airplanes division. "It is important that we gain confidence, because we
are all in this together."
The unit handles all PR in-house, and has about 80 staff members
throughout its product lines in such places as Tulsa, OK, Southern
California, and Canada.
At this point, it is not known if the job cuts will include
communications staff. "We don't know at this point, just like everyone
else," Ryan said.