NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Boeing is offering voluntary layoffs to help the company’s financial burden amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 The company’s president and CEO, Dave Calhoun, issued a letter to employees on Thursday which outlined Boeing’s voluntary plan to “respond to current market conditions.”

In that letter, Calhoun told employees the company is focused on keeping one another and our communities safe as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches every corner of the globe and said their first priority is to protect the health and safety of its people, their families and the stakeholders.

“We’re also doing everything we can to protect the future of our business. That means continuing to deliver for our commercial and services customers, even as their own businesses slow to a trickle,” said Calhoun. “It means working hard to meet commitments to our defense and space customers. And it means maintaining the stability of our supply chain so we’re ready to ramp up again when the pandemic is over.”

He said it also means doing what is necessary to keep the team intact. “We can’t get back to regular operations again after the crisis if we don’t have the people and skills to make that happen.”

While Calhoun says it will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from the crisis, he said Boeing will need to balance the supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come.

“It’s important we start adjusting to our new reality now,” he said.

Calhoun believes the answer it to address that through natural turnover and voluntary employment actions.

“We are initiating a voluntary layoff plan that allows eligible employees who want to exit the company to do so with a pay and benefits package,” Calhoun’s letter said. “This move aims to reduce the need for other workforce actions.”

He said the company will continue to recruit in certain areas to ensure they are able to meet customer commitments now and in the future. “Our businesses and functions will continue adjusting to the changing size and needs of our markets as they always do.”

The company will be releasing more information about the voluntary layoff benefits to employees who are eligible in the coming weeks,

“We’re in uncharted waters,” Calhoun said. “We’re taking actions — including offering this VLO plan — based on what we know today. They will bridge us to recovery as long as we’re not confronted with more unexpected challenges. I can’t predict with certainty what the next few months will bring, but I can commit to being honest about what’s happening and doing everything we can to protect our people and our business through this crisis.”

Boeing says it will continue to deliver commercial, defense and space, and services programs, including the safe return to service of the 737 MAX.