Why Downsizing Is Boeing's Only Choice

The nation's No. 1 airplane maker lays off 20,000 to 30,000 workers in anticipation of struggling airlines and lost orders after the terrorist attacks

As soon as hijacked passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, senior Boeing officials sensed that airplane manufacturing would suffer drastically. Calls from airline executives soon began flooding into sales execs running Boeing's Commercial Airplane division here in Seattle. "We started talking immediately after the attack,'' says one senior Boeing official involved in the discussions to dramatically cut production. "We knew -- as soon as the events were reported -- it was going to have a dramatic effect on our business and our customers.''

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