Spirit AeroSystems suspends Boeing-related production for two weeks

FILE PHOTO: Airplane fuselages bound for Boeing's 737 Max production facility sit in storage at their top supplier, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc, in Wichita, Kansas, U.S. December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

(Reuters) - Spirit Aerosystems SPR.N, Boeing Co's largest supplier, is temporarily suspending production for the airplane maker at many of its facilities in the United States for two weeks, as the global coronavirus pandemic saps demand across the industry.

The company said on Tuesday it would suspend production beginning March 25 until April 8, including at its main Wichita, Kansas facility, a day after Boeing BA.N halted production at its Washington state twin-aisle jetliner factory.

The highly contagious coronavirus outbreak has spread to almost all countries of the world, prompting large-scale lockdowns that have crimped travel demand.

Boeing’s airline customers have deferred taking new aircraft and making pre-delivery downpayments, compounding its troubles related to the grounding of its once fast-selling 737 MAX jet after fatal crashes. Boeing halted 737 production in January.

Spirit said it would continue to pay employees who are sent home during the two-week period due to the suspension of Boeing work. It will also continue to support 787 work for Boeing’s Charleston, South Carolina, facility.

Smaller rival Triumph Group Inc TGI.N said following Boeing's plan to close its Washington State factories for 14 days, the company plans to lay off 250 salaried employees and 250 contractors, while Chief Executive Officer Daniel Crowley and his reports will forgo 10% of their base pays starting April 1.

(This story corrects last paragraph to say “following Boeing plan” to close Washington State factories and not “Triumph”)

Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur