Main topic of weekly COVID-19 briefing? Boeing’s future in Snohomish County


787 Dreamliner (Courtesy Boeing Corporation)

The COVID-19 impact on Boeing’s future in Snohomish County topped the county’s coronavirus briefing Tuesday.

Boeing has already announced it will cut back 787 production in Everett from 10 Dreamliners a month to six a month next year.

Here are the key numbers on Boeing’s economic impact in the county:

  • 30,000 employees at the Everett plant.
  • 1,300 Boeing subcontractors in the county.
  • 103,000 total aviation-related jobs county-wide.
  • Payroll over $9 billion dollars.

The last two figures come from the State Office of Financial Management, 2018.

Last week, Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, in a letter to shareholders and employees, warned “we will also need to evaluate the most efficient way to produce the 787, including studying the feasibility of consolidating production in one location.

On a phone call later, reporters asked Calhoun if that meant all 787 production would move to the South Carolina plant. His response: “I’m not going to jump to that conclusion. There are ways around these kinds of things.” Industry observers have, for some time, predicted that Everett would lose the 787 to North Charleston, S.C.

The largest version of the Dreamliner, the 787-10, is too big to transport to Everett for assembly.

During the COVID briefing, County Executive Dave Somers explained the county is making its case to keep the 787 line in Everett. He says the County’s Aerospace Task Force “will leave nothing on the table; we are doing all we can to be a great home for them.” He acknowledged the heavy toll the coronavirus continues to take on aerospace and travel, but adds Boeing has been part of Snohomish County life for more than 50 years.

From March to June, Boeing lost $2.4 billion and has reduced plane production by 15%. The company plans to cut 10,500 jobs statewide before the end of the year.

Somers had a slice of good news on the aerospace job front, announcing the county has awarded the first aerospace training grants. The grants come from some of the county’s CARES Act federal coronavirus funding. The awards provide up to $250,000 per business.

The county says the purpose of the grants is to increase local business competitiveness, minimize additional layoffs, recall furloughed workers, and help them adapt to new skills and technologies. Somers says the awards will be announced shortly. Training must be complete by November.

The other big takeaway from the conference call is that for the rest of this week, coronavirus drive-thru testing remains at Everett’s McCollum Park.

Katie Curtis, Snohomish Health District

Katie Curtis, the Snohomish Health District’s acting director of prevention services, says the district still plans to expand the test site and move it to 3900 Broadway in Everett; but for now, those plans are on hold.

Moving the test site to Broadway will allow up to 500 tests a day, twice the current capacity at McCollum Park.

Online registration is now open at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing. You can learn more in our earlier story here.

— By Bob Throndsen

 

 

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