Boeing said Monday it will suspend its 787 production work in South Carolina “until further notice,” halting temporarily its last aircraft manufacturing center that was still operating.
The company closed its Seattle-area production facilities March 25, and announced Sunday it would keep them closed indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic ravages airlines’ finances and the COVID-19 disease forces many factories to close.
Boeing said its suspension in North Charleston affects its Airport Campus, Emergent Operations, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. Collectively, these employ several thousand people in final assembly of the 787 and manufacturing some sections of the plane.
“It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 program and the company’s South Carolina site leader, in a statement. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.”
The company said those employees who can work remotely will continue to do so, and those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. All benefits will continue as normal during the suspension of operations, the company said.
Boeing said it will “continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site” during the suspension.
Boeing’s decision came the same day Airbus announced its manufacturing operations in Mobile, Alabama, as well as at some European factories, would suspend work for several weeks due to the economic and health crisis.