Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production at its Puget Sound area facilities in Washington state, its largest plant worldwide, over the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region.
“Boeing is working to minimize this suspension's impact on the company's ability to deliver and support its defense and space programs, and ensure the readiness of our defense customers to perform their vital missions,” a company statement said
Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations.
During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous 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."
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 – which will provide coverage for the 14 calendar day suspension period.
When the suspension is lifted, Boeing will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments. This will be a key step to enabling the aerospace sector to bridge to recovery.
Boeing will work closely with those customers in the coming days to develop plans that ensure customers are supported throughout this period. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.
In addition, Boeing announced the following measures to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis:
CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo all pay until the end of the year.
The company will suspend its dividend until further notice.
Boeing will extend its pause of any share repurchasing until further notice.
The Coronavirus crisis has come at a time when the company has already suffered a huge hit due to the Boeing 737 Max issue.