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Triumph may lay off 400 as it closes Vought plant

Triumph Aerostructures could idle about 400 workers at its Vought Aircraft Division facility in west Dallas as it moves work to a new factory in Ellis County.

In a required notice to the state, Triumph said hourly employees can expect layoffs to begin on or about Feb. 7. Salaried workers who are affected have been notified, the company said in a separate statement.

The exact number of layoffs “may be reduced by employee transfers” to Triumph’s Grand Prairie facility or the new plant in Red Oak, just south of DeSoto, Triumph said in its statement. The nearby Grand Prairie facility, which builds components for Boeing jetliners, is not otherwise affected by the developments at the west Dallas facility, the company said.

Triumph said about 2,000 people work at the Dallas facility, at 9314 W. Jefferson Blvd. The company did not say how many are working in Grand Prairie.

Triumph Group acquired Vought Aircraft in 2010. In a statement, company officials said they will permanently shut its operations at the 1940s-era Dallas building, which it leases.

A company spokeswoman at Triumph Group’s Berwyn, Pa., headquarters declined to comment further.

In an Oct. 30 earnings call with financial analysts, company officials said Triumph had closed 1.4 million square feet of the Dallas building. They said some work had been moved to Red Oak but said “the heavy lifting” remained to be completed.

Union officials at United Auto Worker Local 848, which represents Vought workers at the two plants, did not respond to requests for comment.

Triumph already has a 240,000-square-foot factory in Red Oak that is preparing to build wings for Bombardier business jets. It’s also building a 600,000-square-foot factory “that will provide space for the transfer of certain programs currently executed at the Jefferson Street facility,” according to Triumph’s news release.

In mid-2012, Triumph said American Brownfields Corp., the new owner of the west Dallas facility, wanted too much rent for the building and announced plans for Red Oak.

In the recent statement, company officials said the Dallas site “has 5 million square feet of space spread out over 315 acres and is not cost-effective for current operations.” The new Red Oak facility, it said, “will result in a reduced footprint, more modern facilities and other associated improvements that bring inherent gains in efficiency.”

Vought Aircraft and its predecessors have used the Dallas facility, long owned by the Navy, since it opened during World War II. In 2012, American Brownfields acquired the site, and Triumph officials said publicly then that they could not work with the terms proposed by the new owner.

A spokesman for American Brownfields declined to comment, citing pending litigation in the matter.