Boeing Re-Hires Retirees to Help Fix 737 Delay Issues

Sep 11, 2018

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Sights of near-complete Boeing 737s sitting grounded at the plane manufacturer’s Seattle-area hub has become the norm. As production delays continue to plague 737 manufacturing, Boeing is now taking to bringing back some of its old employees to help get operations on track once again.

A union official told Reuters on Monday that Boeing is bringing retired workers back on the job to help fix delays at its Renton-based 737 plant. The delays have been triggered by a series of supplier constraints, ranging from engines to fuselages — a problem Boeing knew would be coming. The largest issues have stemmed from Spirit AeroSystems Inc, which supplies the fuselages, and from CFM International Inc, the company that supplies engines.

In August, the head of the 737 program, Scott Campbell, announced he’d be stepping down from his position at the end of the year. The move followed the worst month for deliveries since 2012 for Boeing. In July, Boeing delivered just 29 737s — its hottest-selling aircraft.

On Thursday, investors will get an idea of just how far behind Boeing is on its order and delivery numbers.

According to a Boeing spokesperson, the manufacturer is dedicating additional resources to the Renton factory “to ensure timely deliveries to our customers.”

Though it’s not clear exactly how many retirees Boeing is bringing back to Renton, nor the terms of their deals, the plane manufacturer said that it’s already deployed about 600 employees and new hires to the factory in recent weeks. With the influx of workers, Boeing’s hoping to fix the delay issues plaguing the 737 program.

Analysts said that as of last week, about 50 semi-finished 737s could be seen stalled at the Renton factory.

“We are working closely with our suppliers Spirit and CFM as they track toward recovery, as well as our customers,” the Boeing spokesperson said. “Our team has been mitigating supplier delays, and our factory continues to build 52 airplanes per month.”

Featured image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

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