Layoffs Ending?

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Boeing's Chief Executive Phil Condit says the company is nearing the end of a series of layoffs in commercial aviation.

If it's true, it's good news for Wichita since Boeing is the area's largest employer.

As aircraft cycles go, Condit says this has been the worst downturn in commercial aviation ''since airplanes existed.''

But judging by Condit's statements made in Tokyo, Japan, the worst might be over.

Boeing Wichita employees have seen their ranks cut by 5,000 in the past year and a half. Workers hope Condit knows what he's talking about when he says the layoffs are near an end.

Condit says there will be some layoffs ahead, but not many. Condit says Boeing is virtually on the low production rates now.

The Boeing chief says despite the SARS outbreak and it's impact on travel, the company is still on target to deliver it's forecast of 280 airliners this year. He says Boeing will deliver between 275 and 300 commercial jets next year.

Despite Condit's statements some employees aren't readay to believe the end of the down cycle is over.

Aviation analyst Paul Nisbet who tracks Boeing says Phil Condit has been very accurate when predicting employment levels. Nisbet says he too believes Boeing is in the bottom of the cycle. But he says the bottom does not necessarily mean hiring is around the corner.

That could still be a while away.

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