Boeing to Suspend Operations at 787 Plant in South Carolina

Boeing says it temporarily will suspend all 787 operations at its factory in Charleston, South Carolina.

Boeing  (BA) - Get Report announced it temporarily will suspend all 787 operations at its factory in Charleston, South Carolina.

The suspension will begin at the end of the second shift on Wednesday, the airplane maker said in a statement.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an order Monday mandating that residents must stay at home and limit non-essential activity.

"It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of [coronavirus] 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. "We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people." 

The plant in South Carolina was Boeing's last commercial-jet factory still operating during the coronavirus outbreak.

Boeing said late Sunday that its manufacturing hubs in the Seattle area would remain closed indefinitely due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Boeing, in an email to Washington employees, said it was extending the planned two-week shutdown in Seattle rather than reopening Wednesday. The decision affects about 30,000 of Boeing’s 70,000 employees in the state.

Last week, Boeing announced voluntary buyout offers for its 161,000 employees as it continues to grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on air travel, and the prospect of a long-term halt on new-plane orders.

In a statement, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said the company will begin a voluntary layoff (VLO) plan "... that allows eligible employees who want to exit the company to do so with a pay and benefits package." 

Already reeling from a prolonged grounding of its 737 MAX following two fatal crashes, Boeing and rival Airbus now face a demand tailspin as both domestic and international carriers pare back their schedules and park hundreds of existing jets.

Boeing shares were rising 9.32% to $162.80 in premarket trading Tuesday.