Boeing Set To Resume Washington Aircraft Production

Boeing is planning to resume commercial aircraft production at its Seattle-area factories as early as Monday with new physical distancing measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The company had suspended production at those factories three weeks ago amid stay-at-home orders in Washington state. It later said it would temporarily shut down production at its South Carolina factory where it makes wide-body 787 jetliners, a move that effectively suspended Boeing’s commercial aircraft assembly.

Boeing will require face coverings at its Washington state sites and will mark floors and post signs to indicate appropriate physical distance between employees. Staff will also come in on a staggered schedule.

Other measures to stop the spread of the disease include employee “wellness checks,” voluntary temperature taking at the factories and contact tracing if employees test positive for Covid-19. Boeing is tracking about 65 active cases of Covid-19 among its employees, while around 120 others have fully recovered, a spokesman said.

The precautions might be a taste of what employees currently working from home across various industries might face when they return to company facilities.

Stan Deal, president, and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest said in a statement yesterday, 16 April.


 “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available, and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Boeing’s decision to get back to business in Washington will be welcome news for these employees. Boeing says approximately 27,000 employees will be coming back to work. In addition to restarting the production of the 747, 767, 777, and 787 programs, the employees will be supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services, and national defense and security missions.

While Boeing notes that its troubled South Carolina facility will remain closed, defense production operations in the area have restarted. This alone has re-employed 2,500 workers.

Most of the Washington employees will be back to work within the week. The manufacturer says the 737 program will be restarting the production of the 737 MAX.


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