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Boeing suspends production at Washington state hub, citing Covid-19 outbreak

Boeing suspends production at Washington state hub, citing Covid-19 outbreak
The main Boeing production facility in Everett, Washington will be closing for at least two weeks, to protect employees amid the coronavirus epidemic. Space and military programs will not be affected, the company said.

Boeing will suspend operations at the Puget Sound facility for 14 days, starting on March 25, President and CEO Dave Calhoun announced on Monday.

"This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live," he said in a statement. “During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.”

Employees who cannot work from home will receive paid leave for the initial 10 days of the suspension, which ought to cover the 14-day calendar period. Calhoun noted that this was double the time laid out in company policy, and did not say what would happen if the suspension continues past that.

“Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue,” Boeing said.

The company said it is also working to “minimize” the shutdown's impact on defense and space programs. 

Shutdown of the Everett facility was announced a day after the death of an inspector who worked there, reportedly due to the coronavirus.

Also on rt.com Boeing stock crashes after plane maker halts production of troubled 737 MAX

The sole US manufacturer of passenger airliners has struggled for months before the pandemic struck. Production of the 737 MAX line was halted after the model was grounded worldwide due to two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Federal investigations unearthed a plethora of problems with the computer-assisted guidance system and crew training instructions. 

As Boeing is also a major supplier to the US military and the space program, there has been growing pressure on Washington to bail out the troubled company. 

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