Boeing Co. said Friday it plans to cut its production schedule for 2010 due to the economic downturn and lower demand.

The Chicago-based firm said production of its 777 mini jumbo jet will decline from seven to five per month beginning in June 2010.

The cutbacks could lead to reductions at GE’s aviation unit, which makes engines for the 777 wide-body aircraft as well as other models such as the 747, 767, and 787.

Boeing also said it expects the downturn will reduce its first-quarter net earnings by 38 cents per share, lower than Wall Street analysts' expectations of $1.24 per share. The reduction is roughly equivalent to $275 million.

Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx told the Seattle Times the company anticipates the work slowdown will bring employment reductions beyond those already announced. The company had expected to cut its commercial airplane work force by 4,500 by the end of 2009, but did not plan a production cut.

St. Louis-based Boeing recently reported a fourth quarter loss of US$56 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with profit of US$1.03 billion, or US$1.36 per share in 2008.

Shares of Boeing raised $2.28 to 6.18% at $39.15.

At the end of Thursday trading, Boeing shares rose $2.28, or 6.18 percent to $39.15.