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A General Electric employee prepares a GEnx-747 jet engine for a test at a facility in Peebles, Ohio, on Nov. 15, 2013.Matt Sullivan/Reuters

General Electric Co. said on Monday it was planning to cut the global work force of its aviation unit this year by as much as 25 per cent, or up to 13,000 jobs, including both voluntary and involuntary layoffs, citing prolonged aircraft reduction schedules caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The job cuts are the latest mounting woes for the aviation sector that are now expected to last into 2021 as U.S. passenger air travel demand has fallen by 95 per cent.

Last week, Boeing Co. said it would cut 10 per cent of its global workforce, or 16,000 jobs, as it has slowed some production rates, while supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings said on Friday it is cutting another 1,450 jobs in Kansas.

GE shares were down 4 per cent at US$6.23.

The GE Aviation job cuts are part of the US$3-billion in cost and cash savings announced by the company last month and include previously announced cuts, including a 10-per-cent cut to its U.S. work force announced in March.

GE Aviation chief executive David Joyce told employees on Monday the “deep contraction of commercial aviation is unprecedented, affecting every customer worldwide. Global traffic is expected to be down approximately 80 per cent in the second quarter.”

GE Aviation previously issued furloughs affecting about 50 per cent of its U.S. maintenance, repair and overhaul employees and new engine manufacturing. It also imposed a hiring freeze, cancelled a salaried merit increase and dramatically reduced non-essential spending.

Neither GE nor Boeing opted to apply for government assistance from a US$17-billion U.S. Treasury fund for national-security-related companies. Boeing said it would rely on US$25-billion raised in a new bond offering.

Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun said last week he expects it will “take two to three years for travel to return to 2019 levels and it will be a few years beyond that for the industry to return to long-term growth trends.”

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