Boeing extends factory shutdown in Washington state

Boeing currently employs around 70,000 people in Washington state, where an indefinite shutdown of its facilities was announced. (AP)
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Updated 06 April 2020

Boeing extends factory shutdown in Washington state

  • Shutdown would continue indefinitely in an effort to protect staff from COVID-19
  • Boeing currently employs around 70,000 people in Washington state

WASHINGTON: Boeing has said it will indefinitely extend a shutdown at its factories in Washington state because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The aerospace giant had already halted production at its Puget Sound facility near Seattle, where the company builds the long-range 777 jet and other models, after announcing a two-week stoppage last month.
It had also shut its other major state factory at Moses Lake because of the 737 MAX grounding.
Boeing announced Sunday that the shutdown would continue indefinitely in an effort to protect staff from COVID-19, which has already claimed the life of one employee at the company’s Everett facility.
“The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” Boeing’s commercial airplanes division president Stan Deal said in a statement.
Boeing was already facing significant headwinds prior to the coronavirus pandemic because of the crisis surrounding the 737 MAX, which has been grounded for more than a year following two fatal crashes.
But the pandemic has further hit the company’s outlook with most commercial airline travel suspended and major carriers thrust into a life-or-death fight.
The company is seeking more than $60 billion in federal support for the US aerospace industry in the wake of the two crises.
It announced a voluntary worker layoff plan on Thursday and said it expected “several thousand employees” to take a severance package or retire.
Boeing currently employs around 70,000 people in Washington state.


European bank ramps up stimulus package

Updated 05 June 2020

European bank ramps up stimulus package

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank approved a bigger-than-expected expansion of its stimulus package on Thursday to prop up an economy plunged by the coronavirus pandemic into its worst recession since World War II.

Just months after a first raft of crisis measures, the ECB said it would raise bond purchases by €600 billion ($674 billion) to €1.35 trillion and that purchases would run at least until end-June 2021, six months longer than first planned.

It also said it would reinvest proceeds from maturing bonds in its pandemic emergency purchase scheme at least until the end of 2022.

ECB President Christine Lagarde scotched speculation that the bank could follow the US Federal Reserve in buying sub-investment grade bonds, saying that option was not discussed by policymakers.

The announcement, which comes just weeks after Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that the ECB had already been exceeding its mandate with a longstanding asset purchase program, prompted a rally in the euro and bond markets.

“Today’s easing measures were another illustration that the ECB means business and stands ready to do whatever is necessary to help the euro area survive the corona crisis in one piece. The ECB will do its part, and it hopes the governments will do their part,” Nordea analysts said in a note.

The bank dramatically revised downward its baseline scenario for euro zone output this year to a contraction of 8.7 percent from the modest 0.8 percent rise it had forecast only in March.

“The euro area economy is experiencing an unprecedented contraction. There has been an abrupt drop in economic activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to contain it,” Lagarde said.

She said she was confident that a “good solution” could be found on the legal stand-off with Germany’s top court.