Boeing is taking a phased approach to restarting production in Seattle © Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images
Boeing is taking a phased approach to restarting production in Seattle © Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus: manufacturers outline plans to restart production

17 April 2020

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing is among a number of manufacturers which have said they plan to restart production lines, as businesses tentatively look to life beyond the coronavirus lockdown.

Boeing said it would resume production at its Seattle plant in a phased approach over the next few weeks, with extra health and safety procedures. It suspended operations last month in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Around 27,000 staff are expected to return to work to produce the 747, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft, which the business said supported critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defence and security missions.

The company is implementing measures including physical distancing, use of PPE and voluntary pre-shift temperature checks. Shifts will be staggered to reduce worker flow.

Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing, said: “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Volkswagen is also set to gradually restart production at its commercial vehicle plants in Hanover, Germany, and Poznań and Września in Poland at reduced capacity levels later this month, having being shut for just over five weeks.

The company said the restart process, which includes extensive health and safety protection measures, would be based on the availability of parts, as well as government and EU conditions and developments in sales markets. 

The carmarker is restarting production of its passenger cars in Zwickau, Germany and Bratislava, Slovakia next week (20 April). 

This would be followed by successive resumption of production at other Volkswagen brand plants in Germany, Portugal, Spain, Russia, South Africa, and North and South America, the following week. In May, production will be resumed in South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

Ralf Brandstätter, COO of Volkswagen, said: “Volkswagen has prepared intensively for these steps over the past three weeks. In addition to developing a comprehensive catalogue of measures for the protection of our employees’ health, we have also forged ahead with the re-establishment of our supply chains.”

Toyota also said it would gradually restart operations at its plants in France and Poland. The company’s French operation has been suspended since 17 March and will recommence on limited volume from 22 April.

Its operation in Poland is preparing for production at reduced volumes, Toyota said. The gradual ramping of production was to ensure health and safety protocols were maintained, it added.

Volvo is restarting production at its Torslanda plant in Sweden on Monday (20 April).

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