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Boeing has temporarily suspended production of the KC-46 tanker and P-8 Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft along with other work at its Puget Sound facilities in Washington, US, to help slow the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

Air Force Technology understands that non-production work on the aircraft will continue such as enhancements to the KC-46’s remote vision system. Boeing told Air Force Technology that it was actively working with defence customers to minimise the impact of the production halt on missions.

This step has been taken to ensure the wellbeing of Boeing’s employees and their families, as well as the wider local community.

The company plans for an orderly shutdown in line with the requirements of its customers.

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Boeing will reduce its production from 23 March. The suspension of all operations at the facility is expected to be implemented from 25 March.

Operations at the Puget Sound facilities will be suspended for 14 days.

The company also stated that it will closely monitor the government guidance and take necessary actions required including deep cleaning at impacted sites.

Additionally, the company will also plan rigorous criteria for return to work.

Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun said: “This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live.

“We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension.

“We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of Covid-19.”

Employees at the production facilities have to report to their assigned shifts to receive guidelines for the shutdown time period.

Depending on the nature of the work, employees at the Puget Sound facilities will continue to work from home.

As per company policy, employees who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial ten working days of the suspension of the operations.

Calhoun added: “We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation. This is an unprecedented time for organisations and communities across the globe.”