Boeing will resume all commercial airplane production in a phased approach at its Seattle, Washington-area facilities beginning April 20, 2020, after suspending operations in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At all its sites, the company has taken extra precautions and instituted comprehensive procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19.
"The health and safety of our employees, their families, and communities is our shared priority," said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. "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."
Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound region will return to production of the 747, 767, 777, and 787 programs at Boeing’s Everett, Washington site, supporting global transportation infrastructure, cargo services, and national defense and security missions. The 737 program at Renton, Washington, will resume work to restart 737 MAX production. By mid-April, Boeing had restarted mostly defense-related production in the region with approximately 2,500 people. Boeing South Carolina operations remain in suspension for now.
Most Puget Sound employees for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return to work by April 21, with most 787 program employees returning to work by April 24.
The company's practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health, and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:
• Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
• Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
• Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one
• Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
• Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
• Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
• Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
• Continued virtual meetings; employees who can work from home will continue to do so
• Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
• Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas, additional cleaning supplies available
Enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance on COVID-19, assess impact on company operations, and adjust plans as the situation evolves.