Leading aerospace avionics supplier Honeywell will move about 200 highly paid engineering jobs over the next year from its Redmond facility to Phoenix, the company announced internally.
The planned shift will reduce Honeywell’s already shrinking presence in Washington state — nearly 1,000-strong just 13 months ago — to between 300 and 350 people, the company said.
“This is not a decision we made lightly as we realize this, unfortunately, affects valued employees,” Honeywell said in a statement.
Spokesperson Adam Kress said the company is giving the affected employees time to prepare. “This move won’t be completed until March 2022,” he said.
He said Honeywell is offering relocation assistance to employees who apply for new jobs in Arizona, while those eligible employees who do not move or don’t find another role within Honeywell will be offered severance and outplacement assistance.
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Honeywell is a diversified conglomerate. Phoenix is the major hub of its substantial aerospace division, which makes complex avionics systems.
The Redmond facility has a history stretching back to 1969, when it was built to house the operations of United Control, formed two decades earlier by three Boeing engineers.
United Control, which began by manufacturing thermal switches for airplane electronics, was acquired by Sundstrand Data Control, then by Allied Signal and finally in 1999 by Honeywell.
The Redmond operation has a great claim to fame in the aviation world: It was there, more than 40 years ago, that engineer Don Bateman invented the “ground proximity warning” system now standard on commercial airplanes.
That’s a pilot alert system that warns pilots flying in poor visibility to pull up to avoid smashing into an unseen mountain or some other obstacle. It’s a technology, which has grown more and more sophisticated over the years, that is calculated to have saved thousands of lives.
Honeywell’s presence grew to provide support for installation of its avionics boxes and systems on Boeing jets. That close-in support of Boeing will continue: Honeywell’s supply chain operations and the associated engineering functions will remain in Redmond, Kress said.
Honeywell is “definitely not closing up shop in Redmond by any means,” he added.
Last year, as the hit to aerospace business from the pandemic forced $1.5 billion in overall corporate cost cutting, Honeywell had already significantly cut local jobs down to its current size of about 500 employees in Washington state.
Previously, the company’s latest filing with the state showed that at the end of 2019 it had just shy of 800 full time employees and 150 temporary staff.