McDONNELL DOUGLAS (MDC) is preparing for a new round of job cuts at its Douglas Aircraft division following continued delays over the long expected Saudia MD-11 order and the loss of the recent SAS narrow body competition to Boeing.

The job losses are expected to fall in two phases, with total employment at Long Beach, California, due to fall from 11,000 to just over 9,500 by the year-end.

MDC says that it could not wait for the Saudi order any longer without making further cuts in its MD-11 workforce. The company has firm orders for around 45 of the wide bodies. The current production rate of around 1.6 a month is expected to drop to between 1 and 1.2.

The final number of job losses is difficult to predict because 1,350 new jobs are being created at Long Beach by the re-absorption of MD-11 fuselage barrel production from General Dynamics. Set against this, however, is the drop in the number of barrel sections needed.

Uncertainty over the schedule and assembly site for the MD-95 further confuses the picture. Californian interests are fighting to put the work in Long Beach rather than Texas.

MDC says that it has "certainly not closed down options" on building the MD-95 at Dalfort Aviation "or anywhere else in Texas".

Source: Flight International