Boeing halts production, Airbus cautiously resumes

Boeing halts production, Airbus cautiously resumes

COVID-19 pandemic response related to coronavirus outbreak’s global rise and ebb.

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Boeing is temporarily suspending production at its Seattle, Washington-area facilities in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus spread to ensure the well-being of employees, their families, and the local community.

The 14-day shutdown begins March 25, 2020, at sites across the Puget Sound region. During the closure, the company will perform additional deep cleaning at those sites and establish criteria for return to work.

Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said, "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. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it's vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19."

Puget Sound area-based employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial 10 working days of the suspension – double the company policy, covering the 14 calendar-day suspension.

Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue, the company announcement stated.

Airbus partially resumed production in France and Spain March 23, 2020, after a 4-day pause to implement stringent health and safety measures. Work stations will only re-open if they comply with hygiene, cleaning, and self-distancing guidelines.

The same measures are being deployed across all other sites without full interruption.

For non-production activities, Airbus supports home-working where possible. In February, the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak.

In recent days, Airbus has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe and has started to use its test aircraft to obtain larger quantities from suppliers in China. A first flight with a test A330-800 aircraft transported approximately 2 million masks from Tianjin to Europe, with most donated to Spanish and French authorities.

Airbus is securing $16.2 billion in commercial credit to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus.

“By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers, and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis,” a company press release stated.

“I am convinced that Airbus and the broader aerospace sector will overcome this critical period,” says Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.