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Spirit AeroSystems To Take Two-Week Break From All Boeing Work

Elaine Thompson/AP/NPR
Spirit AeroSystems says it will suspend work on all Boeing contracts for the next two weeks.

Spirit AeroSystems said it will halt production on all Boeing work for two weeks.

In a news release Tuesday, the company said employees who are idled by the suspension will be paid. The production halt begins Wednesday and will run through April 8 at Spirit’s operations in Wichita and Oklahoma.

The action follows Boeing’s announcement this week that it would suspend production at its plants in Washington state for two weeks beginning Wednesday.

Spirit says work on its other programs, such as Airbus and defense contracts, will continue. The company says those employees are expected to continue to work regular schedules.

During the two-week break, Spirit says it will deep clean and sanitize work spaces and its plants.

When Boeing resumes production, Spirit says it might have to adjust its workforce depending on Boeing’s new production levels.

Spirit laid off about 3,000 employees in January who worked on Boeing’s 737 Max program. The plane was grounded last year following two fatal crashes, and Boeing suspended its production in December.

Much of Spirit’s work is tied to Boeing, which used to own the plant in south Wichita before spinning it off into a private company. The 737 program alone accounts for about half of Spirit’s revenue.

Spirit employs more than 10,000 people in Wichita, making it the city's largest private employer.

Boeing employs about 70,000 people in Seattle area. The company said 32 employees have tested positive for the virus, including 25 in the Seattle area.

Production is continuing at the Boeing plant in South Carolina where 787 jetliners are assembled.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is a board member of the Public Media Journalists Association, a board member of the Kansas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.