(La Porte, IN) - The major downturn in commercial flying brought on by COVID-19 has caused a maker of airplane parts in La Porte to trim its workforce. Howmet Aerospace has cut 115 positions through lay-offs and voluntary retirement at its plant at 926 E. Lincolnway.
“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 out of Pittsburgh. About 660 people are still employed at the La Porte 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. Parts manfacured at the facility are used by Boeing, Air Bus and other makers of airplanes. "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 other countries also makes fasteners and titanium structures for aerospace application and forged aluminum wheels for heavy trucks.
Erwin said the lay-offs in La Porte took effect from August 27 to September 4. He said whether the employees will be called back or if more workforce cuts happen 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.
The lay-offs represent another round of labor cuts triggered by the pandemic at other 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.