Major aerospace firms act to counter COVID-19

Major aerospace firms act to counter COVID-19

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce among those offering relief, expertise.


Cleveland, Ohio – In the past few days, several major aerospace firms have released statements outlining their efforts to support employees, customers, and suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, many companies are lending their technical expertise to develop, transport, or manufacture medical products desperately needed by healthcare professionals globally.

Lockheed Martin Corp. Chairman, President, and CEO Marillyn Hewson issued a message reaffirming company policy to protect the health and safety of employees and their families, deliver for customers, and use know-how and resources to assist the country during the crisis.

As an initial contribution to COVID-19 relief and recovery effort, Lockheed Martin will advance more than $50 million to small- and medium-sized business partners in its supply chain to ensure they have the financial means to continue to operate, sustain jobs, and support the U.S. economy.

The company will donate $10 million to non-profit organizations involved in COVID-19 related relief and assistance, with emphasis on veterans and military families. Lockheed Martin has also activated a $6.5 million employee disaster relief fund to assist employees and retirees impacted with COVID-19.

In addition, Lockheed Martin is offering engineering and technical capabilities to help federal, state, and local officials, including donating the use of corporate aircraft and vehicles for COVID-19 relief logistical support and medical supply delivery. Where practical, the company will lend facilities for crisis-related activities including critical medical supply storage, distribution, and COVID-19 testing.

Lockheed Martin plans to continue recruiting and hiring during the crisis, deploying virtual technology and other techniques to maintain social distancing.

Boeing officials announced additional steps to support COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts, including using its 3D printing capabilities at five facilities across the United States to manufacture face shields to help protect those who are on the front lines of fighting the virus. The initial production goal is to produce thousands of face shields per week followed by subsequent production increases, as long as those facilities remain in operation, consistent with government health orders.

Boeing has also offered the use of the Dreamlifter, its 787 Dreamliner large component transporter, to carry critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals.

To date, Boeing has donated tens of thousands of masks, gloves, and other equipment to hospitals in need. Company officials are also analyzing other ways to use engineering, manufacturing, and logistics expertise to help the cause.

Airbus is using its own transport aircraft and crews in transporting millions of face masks for donation to hospitals and public services around Europe. Airbus helicopters are evacuating COVID-19 patients from hard-hit areas, and its A400M and C295 airlifters in service with the German, Spanish, and U.K. air forces are performing medevac flights from Italy, the Canary Islands, and Shetland Islands, as well as other European regions.

Airbus has joined industrial, technology, and engineering businesses across the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors in responding to the United Kingdom government’s call for help in producing additional medical ventilators. The country has ordered a total of 10,000 ventilators, to be produced by a consortium of companies that also includes Rolls-Royce and Ford.

Jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is reducing all but essential activity within its U.K. Civil Aerospace facilities for one week starting March 27, 2020, with overall payroll to continue, to focus on supporting airline customers and air freight operations. Where working from home is not possible, the company is using split-shifts and social distancing for colleagues in production facilities where cleaning has been intensified. To mitigate supply chain disruption, it is using inventory buffers and dual sourcing.

As a government-designated key supplier for the U.K. military, Rolls-Royce defense facilities in the U.K. are to remain operational.

Rolls-Royce is offering the government its expertise in design, manufacturing, testing, integration, and other areas as they look to increase the U.K.’s supply of ventilators.

In its corporate backyard, Rolls-Royce has donated the equivalent of $12,400 to support the isolated and vulnerable through food banks across Derbyshire, U.K.