A Boeing employee walks out of the Boeing Renton Factory after shift change on Monday, December 16, 2019, in Renton. 
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A Boeing employee walks out of the Boeing Renton Factory after shift change on Monday, December 16, 2019, in Renton.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Boeing suspends 737 MAX production; no layoffs or furlough expected

Boeing announced that it is stopping production of the 737 MAX plane, beginning next month.

737 MAX planes that were in service were grounded worldwide this year. One of the planes had crashed in 2018, and another in March this year. The 346 passengers and crew on both planes died.

The 737 MAX continued being produced despite being grounded. Now, with approximately 400 of the planes in storage, Boeing says it will focus on preparing the existing planes it has already built.

That would involve implementing the fix that the Federal Aviation Association has yet to approve. They have to make sure these planes will not crash.

“The FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service,” Boeing said in the statement. “We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered.”

Although Boeing corporate is headquartered in Chicago, the planes are still made, for the most part, in the Seattle area. The assembly facility making the 737 MAX is in Renton.

Boeing said it does not expect to furlough or lay off those employees but rather assign them “to other teams in the Puget Sound.”

Some will stay in Renton, but other could move. How much more of a commute that could mean for those workers is unclear. The other major Boeing plant in the Seattle area is north, in Everett, about an hour and a half drive at shift change.

Boeing said it would release financial information about the production suspension in late January, in connection with his quarterly report.