COVID-19 Causes Boeing to Suspend Puget Sound Production

Boeing factory

The company, which had already shuttered production at another major factory in Washington state due to the 737 MAX grounding, is seeking more than $60 billion in federal support for the U.S. aerospace industry in the wake of the two crises.

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production at its Puget Sound area facilities in Washington state, its largest plant worldwide, over the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region.

As Boeing is also a major supplier to the United States military and the space program, there has been growing pressure on Washington to bail out the troubled company.

The company will start reducing production activity Monday, and projects the suspension will begin Wednesday. Production had already halted in January of its plane, the 737 MAX, which has been grounded since last March after the second of two crashes that killed 346 people.

Boeing said it would continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations.

READ: Airbus test aircraft on COVID-19 mercy flights. During this time, Boeing will deep-clean at impacted sites and establish rigorous criteria for return to work.

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun called the move a "necessary step" that will protect employees and the communities they work and live in. "We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we're in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension". "This is an unprecedented time for organizations and communities across the globe".

In a press release, the company said that affected employees who could not work from home would continue to be paid for 10 business days, covering the entire suspension period.

"We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation", Calhoun said. When the suspension, the company plans to "take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments".

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