Boeing told employees Monday that it will reassign about 3,000 workers who produce the 737 Max in the Seattle area, while a major supplier for the beleaguered jets said it is considering voluntary layoffs to cut costs as the grounding wears on longer than expected.
Boeing last month said it would shut down production of the planes in the middle of January, a drastic step as regulators reiterate they have no timeline to lift the flight ban on the planes, which they issued after two crashes in a span of five months killed 346 people.
Once the last plane currently in production is complete, Boeing told employees “no further [737 Max] airplanes will be produced until the suspension is lifted.” Some workers will be moved to other programs like the 767 or 777X lines, while others will be assigned to storage facilities in Moses Lake, Wash. and a new site in Victorville, Calif.
“Hundreds of our colleagues from Everett came down to Renton in 2018 to help us during our production challenges. This gives the 737 team a chance to return the favor,” Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program said in the note to employees, referring to a period when Boeing couldn’t keep up with demand for the planes, its best-selling aircraft.