US aerospace giant Boeing is planning to cut "several hundred" jobs in its satellite business by early 2016 as part of the restructuring of the division's workforce to remain competitive for ongoing and future business.
Citing an internal memo, Reuters said several of the division's projects were being delayed by the recent failures of launch vehicles and uncertainties over future funding from the US government.
A company spokesman Tim Neale confirmed the proposed reductions and said that the total number of people affected would be finalised in the coming months. He said some of the workers facing layoffs could find work in other parts of the firm.
The report comes one month after Boeing lost a large satellite contract from Asia Broadcast Satellite due to its failure to secure financing from the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im, the official US export credit agency, can no longer write loans or engage in new business after its charter expired on 30 June.
"While this (planned job cuts) is not solely being caused by the expiration of Ex-Im Bank, this is a factor for the customers who have decided to maybe hit the pause button or look somewhere else," a Boeing spokesman was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal. He did not specify what portion of the satellite division will be affected by the proposed cuts.
Boeing has about 17,000 workers in California, where most of its commercial satellite business is based. The firm has steadily downsized its military arm in recent years due to the US government tightening its defence spending.
Neale said that many of the company's international customers relied on Ex-Im financing to buy commercial satellites and airplanes, and uncertainty about its future was making the buyers "very nervous.
"In the absence of Ex-Im, Boeing may need to serve as the lender of last resort but there are real limits to how much of this the company can do," he said.