Boeing plans two-week shutdown of factories in Seattle area

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In this Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, file photo, a Boeing worker walks in view of a 737 MAX jet in Renton, Wash.

Elaine Thompson | AP

Boeing on Monday said it is shutting down production at its factories in the Seattle area for two weeks as the manufacturer grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s move to suspend its production at its facilities in the Puget Sound area comes as Washington State, where most of Boeing’s production is centered, is in a state of emergency. Several Boeing employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

“These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers,” Boeing said in a statement.

The production halt at the factories, where Boeing produces several types of wide-body aircraft, marks one of the biggest disruptions yet across U.S. manufacturing from the disease and draconian measures aimed at stopping its spread. It also adds to Boeing’s woes over the past year, when it has faced the worldwide grounding of its best-selling 737 Max after two fatal crashes of the planes killed all 346 people on board.

Boeing in January halted production of the 737 Max, which is made in Renton, Wash., to cut costs associated with the still-grounded aircraft.

Boeing shares were up more than 8% Monday after a brief trading halt to announce the production suspension. 

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