Spirit AeroSystems announces temporary layoffs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Thousands of Spirit AeroSystems employees in Wichita and other locations are being furloughed for three weeks without pay amid an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that has paralyzed air travel around the globe.

Most managers and hourly employees at Spirit, Wichita's largest employer, were informed in a company email that they will be placed on a 21-day unpaid leave starting Wednesday, the Wichita Eagle reported. It's unclear exactly how many employees will be affected. The aircraft parts maker's company profile says it employs around 18,000.

The temporary layoffs apply to Spirit employees with the company's Boeing commercial program. It includes Spirit employees in San Antonio and in the Tulsa and McAlester locations in Oklahoma.

Furloughed workers will continue to receive benefits, including healthcare, for the full three weeks of the temporary leave.

Other workers at Spirit will continue as they have been, including those associated with military and non-Boeing work.

The unpaid furlough announcement comes two weeks after Spirit announced it was temporarily halting work for Boeing, but would continue to pay workers during the two-week period.