LAPORTE — The major downturn in commercial flying brought on by COVID-19 has caused a maker of airplane parts in LaPorte to trim its workforce.
Howmet Aerospace has cut 115 positions through lay-offs and voluntary retirements at its plant at 926 E. Lincolnway.
The reduction represents another round of labor cuts triggered by the pandemic at Howmet Aerospace locations. About one-third of the over 2,000 employees at Howmet Aerospace near Muskegon, Michigan were let go in June, and 65 out of 560 workers were laid-off from its facility in Wichita Falls, Texas in April.
“We always value and continue to value the contributions of our staff and we regret the need for this action,” said Paul Erwin, senior communications manager for Howmet Aerospace, based in Pittsburgh.
About 660 people are still employed at the LaPorte facility, he said.
Erwin said fewer commercial flights since the start of the pandemic in March has reduced demand for the high performance engine components made at the plant.
He said the parts are used by Boeing, Airbus and other manufacturers.
"Unfortunately, people are not traveling and that has a ripple through effect on the economy," Erwin said.
The company, with 26 other locations in the U.S. and in foreign countries including Mexico, Canada and France, also makes fasteners and titanium structures for aerospace applications, along with forged aluminum wheels for heavy trucks.
Erwin said the lay-offs in LaPorte took effect from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4.
He said whether the employees will be called back is not known.
“We’re closely monitoring demand from our customers, and as more data becomes available we take a look at what we can do and make staffing decisions based on that,” he said.
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