Spirit Aerosystems has confirmed that it is laying off 360 salaried support and management employees in both its Kansas and Oklahoma locations.
The company said in a news release Thursday that this is a "strategic move to make the company more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment." It says the reductions are designed to "reduce overhead costs, increase efficiency, and drive improved performance."
Spirit will offer the terminated employees severance benefits and career transition services.
Though Spirit did not confirm the layoffs until late Thursday morning, union officials from Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace had been sounding the alarm about possible layoffs much earlier.
Spirit AeroSystems makes large sections of airplanes assembled by companies such as Boeing and Airbus. Its first-quarter net income rose 10 percent as demand for commercial planes increased. Deliveries for commercial airplanes rose 9 percent from a year earlier and production is accelerating on several of the key passenger jets made by Boeing and Airbus.
While deliveries of finished 787s were halted for nearly the entire quarter because of malfunctioning batteries, production by Boeing and its suppliers continued. Spirit delivered sections for 17 787s during the quarter, up from 15 during the fourth quarter of 2012.
Larry Lawson, the company's new president and CEO, said in May that Spirit would do a "comprehensive evaluation" of the development programs" in Wichita, Kan., Tulsa, Okla., Kinston, N.C., and St. Nazaire in France. That is where sections of the 787 and the new Airbus A350 are made.