Aircraft Production Ramps Up Slowly, Worldwide

At work at Airbus in Mobile before the production pause

Commercial aircraft production is creeping back up around the globe.

Workers at Airbus plants in Spain and France, who stopped work earlier than their counterparts in the U.S., have already started returning to work. Workers at the Airbus wing plant in the U.K. were headed back to work April 20.

Meanwhile, Boeing will be back to nearly full employment by April 24.

Workers at Mobile’s Airbus final assembly line are slated to return to work April 29, as planned when the production pause was announced April 6. Airbus assembles A220 and A320 family commercial aircraft in Mobile, the firm’s only final assembly line in the U.S.

While aircraft assembly has been paused in Mobile, the engineering center here has continued operation with employees working from home, said Airbus spokesperson Kristi Tucker. Defense and space operations have also worked without interruption, she added.

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Meanwhile, their counterparts at Boeing in the Seattle area and at Airbus plants in Europe are already coming back to work, with new health and safety protocols in place — ranging from staggered shift times to physical distancing inside the plant to face masks and onsite health screenings at the start of every shift.

Boeing’s plants around Puget Sound were slated to ease back to life with most of the company’s 27,000 workers returning April 21.

Boeing builds 747, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft in the Pacific Northwest and is working to resume production of the 737 MAX aircraft.

Boeing also resumed work at its helicopter plant in Philadelphia April 20.

Both of the world’s largest commercial aircraft companies have lost orders during the coronavirus crisis, which has severely curtailed air travel. But both still have a backlog of orders.

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