This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Boeing has extended the temporary suspension of production activities at its Puget Sound area and Moses Lake sites until further notice, the company announced Sunday. The decision stems from the company’s own assessment of the spread of Covid-19 in Washington state and further recommendations from government health authorities, as well as considerations centered on the reliability of its supply chain.
Boeing’s initial 14-day suspension of operations began on March 25. Along with the Moses Lake flight test center, it essentially halted activities at the company’s narrowbody plant in Renton, its widebody facilities in Everett, and its Auburn and Frederickson fabrication plants.
The company said it would continue to implement new health and safety measures during the suspension to protect employees who must physically report to work to perform functions related to national defense and essential customer operations. The measures include new visual cues to encourage physical distancing, more frequent and thorough cleaning of work and common areas, and staggering shift times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work.
“The health and safety of our employees, their families, and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal. “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.”
Before the start of the previously announced two-week suspension, Boeing said it would double the length of paid leave to affected employees to 10 working days. That interval ends with the extension of the production activity suspension. However, employees can use the balance of their paid time off, vacation time, and sick leave while the factories remain closed. Once those days run out, they become eligible for unemployment benefits. The company will continue to grant medical benefits throughout the closure.