Boeing plant in Seattle to close for two weeks

Boeing employees down tools as state of emergency is declared in Seattle region

Boeing’s facilities in Puget Sound, Seattle, will temporarily close from 25 March in response to the state of emergency declared in Washington state.

It will mean assembly and maintenance on 737 Max’s will be suspended for two weeks and will affect around 70,000 employees, who will be paid during the period.

In a statement Boeing said it is working to minimise this suspension's impact on the company's customers. Critical distribution operations in support of airlines and MRO customers will continue, the company said.

"This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live," said Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun.

"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.

“We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it's vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of Covid-19," Calhoun added.

During the two weeks, Boeing said it will conduct additional deep cleaning at its facilities.

The temporary closure follows a report by The Seattle Times that an employee from Boeing’s Everett factory died from coronavirus. Boeing did not confirm the report.

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