Major news coming out of Seattle on April 5th as Boeing indicates that it will extend its temporary suspension of production in the Seattle area until further note. This includes facilities in the Puget Sound area and its Moses Lake sites.
Suspension of operations
In late-March, Boeing announced that it would halt production in the Seattle area for a period of two weeks. The aircraft manufacturer announced this move after the death of a Boeing employee attributed to COVID-19 that is spreading in the Washington area.
In addition, Boeing had planned a major deep clean of its facilities in the Seattle area. This move is designed to reduce the spread of the virus. In order to allow workers to return to work on production lines, Boeing established rigorous criteria to support the health and safety of its employees.
Extension of production suspension
Now, Boeing is extending the suspension of production in the Seattle area until further notice. In the meantime, the company will continue its efforts to implement health and safety measures particular to COVID-19. This includes visual cues for social distancing, additional and more thorough cleaning practices in production lines and common areas. Lastly, staggered shift times will be implemented. This will reduce the flow of employees coming in and out at the same time.
President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Stan Deal, offered the following statement:
The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority. We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.
As for employees, Boeing is still instructing people who can work from home to work from home. In addition, volunteers supporting essential work will still be required to report for operations.
The situation in Seattle
The state of Washington is working to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Seattle-area has also been hard-hit by the virus. According to data from the New York Times, there are over 4,400 cases in the Seattle area with over 240 deaths. Washington has been working to slow the spread of the virus. This includes an official stay-at-home order until May.
Boeing is taking note of government guidance and orders. However, this move is likely to take its toll on the manufacturer. Already, airlines are seeking to defer aircraft orders (if not outright cancel them) and the company still is facing the 737 MAX crisis. It is unclear if there are any involuntary layoffs planned as of now.
What do you think about Boeing extending the Seattle-area production suspension? Let us know in the comments!