Boeing contractor to halt work on 737 MAX, furlough staff

Agence France-Presse
Boeing contractor to halt work on 737 MAX, furlough staff

AFP

Spirit AeroSystems will place workers handling Boeing 737 MAX fuselages on a 21-day unpaid furlough

NEW YORK, USA – Spirit AeroSystems, a major contractor on the 737 MAX, will furlough staff after being directed by Boeing to pause work on the embattled plane, Spirit announced late Wednesday, June 10.

Boeing told Spirit to suspend additional work on 4 737 MAX planes and to avoid starting production on 16 others scheduled to be delivered in 2020, Spirit said.

Spirit is taking the actions “in order to support Boeing’s alignment of near-term delivery schedules to its customers’ needs in light of COVID-19‘s impact on air travel and airline operations, and in order to mitigate the expenditure of potential unnecessary production costs,” Spirit said.

As a result, Spirit, which builds the fuselages for the MAX, will place workers at its Wichita factory working on the plane on a 21-day unpaid furlough starting on Monday, June 15. Local media said the move will affect 900 workers.

Spirit said it was also undertaking an “immediate reduction” of the hourly workforces in Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma.

The MAX has been grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes that resulted in 346 fatalities. (READ: Hard times for Boeing, long a symbol of American might)

Boeing had been targeting mid-2020 to win regulatory approval for the MAX, but has more recently said it expects commercial deliveries to resume during the 3rd quarter.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on the timing of a certification flight, a key step in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval process.

“We are continuing to work closely with the FAA and global regulators on the rigorous process to safely return the 737 MAX to service,” the Boeing spokesman said. – Rappler.com

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