Boeing to halt production of 737 Max in January


FILE – In this May 8, 2019, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner being built for Turkish Airlines takes off on a test flight in Renton, Wash. Passengers who refuse to fly on a Boeing Max won’t be entitled to compensation if they cancel. However, travel experts think airlines will be very flexible in rebooking passengers of giving them refunds if they’re afraid to fly on a plane that has crashed twice. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

CHICAGO (AP/KSNT) — Boeing will halt production in January of its 737 Max airliner that has crashed twice and has been grounded since March.

Boeing Co. said Monday that it will temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet starting in January as it struggles to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air.

The Chicago-based company said production would halt at its plant with 12,000 employees in Renton, Washington, near Seattle.

Boeing said it doesn’t expect any layoffs as a result of the production halt “at this time.” But layoffs could ripple through some of the 900 companies that supply parts for the plane.

The Max is Boeing’s most important jet, but it has been grounded since March after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.

In a statement, Boeing said it will determine later when production can resume.

“We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health,” the statement said.

The company’s stock came under pressure Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported on the possibility of a Max production halt. Boeing weighed the move after regulators U.S. regulators told it that its timetable for the return of the Max was unrealistic, the Journal reported.

Shares of Boeing Co. closed Monday down $14.67, or 4.3%, at $327.

Below is a statement from Governor Laura Kelly:

I spoke with Spirit CEO Tom Gentile this morning to let him know that my Administration stands prepared to support the company and its workforce in any way as they work through Boeing’s announcement to temporarily suspend production of the 737 MAX. To that end, I have directed Commerce Secretary David Toland and Labor Secretary Delia Garcia — who is herself a Wichita native — to marshal whatever state resources are needed now and in the coming months. 

The 737 MAX is a key program for Spirit and for our state’s aviation supply chain as a whole. The Wichita community is vibrant and will rally behind those who are impacted by this temporary production suspension. And, I remain hopeful that this temporary suspension will be short-lived and that the MAX can quickly and safely return to the skies.

Statement from Governor Laura Kelly regarding Boeing’s announcement to temporarily suspend production of the 737 MAX.

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