Boeing announced Monday it will temporarily halt production at a factory complex in Washington state that manufactures long-distance planes due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The aerospace giant said it plans to suspend output starting Wednesday for two weeks in the Puget Sound region, which is where the company builds the long-range 777 jet, among other models.
The company, which had already shuttered production at another major factory in Washington state due to the 737 MAX grounding, is seeking more than $60 billion in federal support for the US aerospace industry in the wake of the two crises.
Monday’s announcement does not affect production of the 787 plane in South Carolina.
Workers will continue to be paid during the stoppage while the company conducts “additional deep cleaning” at its facilities, Boeing said.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun.
A union that represents Boeing workers in Washington said a member in Everett, Washington had died as a result of COVID-19 and that the union was pressing so that members in high risk categories will be able to stay at home.
The union, Machinists Union District 751, applauded Monday’s announcement, saying “we hope this will reduce the rate of infection within our membership at work and in the community at large.”