CHARLESTON, S.C — Boeing Co. has transferred employees working on 737 Max engines in Ladson to its main North Charleston campus as a result of the Max production halt announced last month.
The company is not disclosing the number of South Carolina employees transferred and a spokeswoman said she was not sure how long the transfer would last. Transferred employees are working on various parts of the 787 assembly line.
Boeing’s Ladson campus works on design and assembly of the 737 Max engine nacelle. The site also includes teams that work on engineering for the 777X, interior parts for the 787 and the Boeing Research & Technology Center. Only those working on the Max engine have been transferred.
The company also transferred some employees from Renton, Washington, where the 737 Max is assembled, to the 767 and 777/777X programs in Everett, Washington. Other employees from Renton will staff 737 storage locations in Moses Lake, Washington, and Victorville, California.
Employees who remain at the Renton site will focus on improving standard work processes and kitting, among other quality initiatives.
Boeing announced last month that it is suspending 737 Max production to prioritize the delivery of the aircraft it has been building since the Max was grounded in March. Boeing said it has approximately 400 of the airplanes in storage.
“We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health,” according to a statement made by Boeing. “This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft.”
Approximately 3,000 Boeing employees are affected by the production halt across all sites, according to an internal news item obtained by the Business Journal, though no layoffs or furloughs are currently planned. No decisions have been made on when 737 production will resume, the news item said. Once a decision has been made, transferred employees will return to their original work assignments.
“We are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible and returning all of our teams to their home organizations once production starts again,” says Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 737 program and Renton site.