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Triumph of Spokane permanently lays off 22 employees

A worker is shown under a Boeing 737 Max jet in Renton, Wash., on Dec. 16, 2019. Triumph Composite Systems, of Spokane, which builds components for the airplane, has announced it will close its Airway Heights facility in 2022.  (Associated Press )
By Thomas Clouse The Spokesman-Review

Triumph Composite Systems, located on the West Plains, reported to the State of Washington it has permanently laid off 10 employees as of Monday. The move follows another 12 layoffs reported to the state on June 15.

Triumph Composite Systems is a subsidiary of Triumph Group, located in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

According to Triumph Group news releases, the company reported a $75 million net loss for the fourth quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, which ended March 31.

For the year, the company reported net sales of $2.9 billion.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

“The fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 completed a strong year for Triumph Group, and we delivered on our commitment to generate positive free cash flow,” Daniel Crowley, company president and CEO, said in a news release. “Military deliveries helped offset the impacts of the 737 MAX production slow down and effects of the COVID-19 crisis during the quarter.”

Triumph Composite Systems, which reported the permanent layoffs to the Washington State Employment Security Department, is among a half-dozen Spokane-area companies that provide parts for the troubled 737 Max airplanes, which have been grounded since problems were discovered following the October 2018 Lion Air crash that killed 189 people and another crash five months later in Ethiopia that killed 157 people.

The 22 layoffs at Triumph are the only permanent layoffs reported to the ESD since March. Another 1,044 layoffs at several Spokane-area companies were listed as “temporary,” according to the ESD website.

The 737 Max crashes led to lawsuits alleging the jets were unsafe because of a faulty software system.

After the grounding last year, Boeing sales have plunged and the U.S. government is investigating the aircraft’s flight-control system.

Business on the airplane had slowed to a crawl before the coronavirus pandemic further slowed Boeing’s efforts to get the plane back in the into full production.

Triumph Composite Systems, at 1514 S. Flint Road near Spokane International Airport, makes floor panels and ducting for aircraft.

In late March, Triumph Group announced it was eliminating 250 full-time employees and 250 contractor positions. It also implemented furloughs and salary freezes.

Executives also gave up 10% of their salaries starting April 1, 2020, “during the crisis,” according to the company release.

“Importantly, we made strong progress executing our plan to exit legacy programs in Aerospace Structures, a key initiative that will benefit Triumph in fiscal 2021 and beyond,” Crowley said. “Beyond these proactive steps, we recently amended our credit facility and implemented cost containment actions by managing our workforce and supply.”