Boeing has put its chief financial officer in charge of a newly formed group called Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy, as part of a reorganization aimed at streamlining the company’s top leadership and preparing for what Boeing calls “the post-pandemic industry footprint.”
Boeing says it’s planning to resume all commercial airplane production in the Seattle region starting next week, more than three weeks after operations were shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.
About 27,000 employees will be brought back to work sites ranging from Boeing’s wide-body airplane factory in Everett to its 737 production facility in Renton, using a phased approach, the company said in a news release.
Boeing said it’s taking extra precautions to keep its workers safe.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun says the company is preparing a voluntary layoff program that’s aimed at reducing the need for “other workforce actions” as it deals with the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter sent to employees, Calhoun said details about how the program works will be laid out in the next three to four weeks. Speaking on background, a Boeing official said several thousand employees are expected to take the voluntary layoff package or retire.
For the past year, Boeing has been struggling with the worldwide grounding of its 737 MAX passenger jets in the wake of two catastrophic crashes. The company was targeting the middle of this year to resolve all the safety issues and win the Federal Aviation Administration’s go-ahead to put the planes back into operation.
Then the pandemic hit. Last month, reports emerged about COVID-19 cases — and at least one death — among employees at Boeing’s production facilities in the Puget Sound region. Those facilities are now in the middle of a 14-day shutdown while Boeing conducts deep-cleaning operations at the plants and assesses the wider impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Calhoun said Boeing was “doing everything possible to keep this team intact” during the pandemic.
“But one thing is already clear: It will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from the crisis. When the world emerges from the pandemic, the size of the commercial market and the types of products and services our customers want and need will likely be different. We will need to balance the supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come,” he told employees.
“It’s important we start adjusting to our new reality now,” he wrote.
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador who has been touted as a future presidential candidate, says she’s resigning from Boeing’s board of directors to protest the company’s request for $60 billion in federal aid.
Boeing has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the aviation industry, as well as the continued grounding of the 737 MAX fleet in the wake of two fatal crashes. This week the company said it supports a minimum of $60 billion in access to private and public liquidity for the aerospace manufacturing industry.
In a letter sent to Boeing CEO David Calhoun and the board, Haley said she couldn’t go along with Boeing’s request.
“I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position,” she wrote. “I have long held strong convictions that this is not the role of government.”
For that reason, she said she was resigning from the board position that she’s held since last year.
Amid clouds of smoke and “Blade Runner” hype, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a hard-edged, all-electric pickup truck that will cost as little as $39,900 and is due to hit the market by as early as 2021.
And then, with hundreds of fans cheering him on, Musk brought out one more thing during his laser-show presentation at Tesla’s design center in Los Angeles: an all-electric, all-terrain vehicle that rolled right into the Cybertruck’s bed for recharging from an onboard outlet.
There’s no sign that the ATV is for sale … yet … but Tesla is already taking refundable $100 deposits for the Cybertruck.
Redmond, Wash.-based MagniX, which aims to become the Tesla of aviation, is gearing up for the first flight tests of an all-electric Harbour Air seaplane in British Columbia next month, the company’s CEO says.
But that’s not all: In addition to supplying a 750-horsepower Magni500 motor for use on a de Havilland Beaver that’s being converted to all-electric propulsion at Harbour Air’s B.C. headquarters, MagniX is experimenting on a converted Cessna Citation airplane in Moses Lake, Wash. The company is also laying plans for a next-generation 1,500HP Magni1000 motor.
Voom has officially extended its app-based, on-demand helicopter service to the San Francisco Bay Area, confirming that the Airbus subsidiary is now active in the United States as well as in Brazil and Mexico.
Today’s announcement comes months after initial reports that the San Francisco-based venture was beta-testing its service in the Bay Area.
Customers can now use Voom’s app or website to book trips with connections to five Bay Area airports: Napa, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose. Prices start at $215, and a quick check of the website shows that the per-seat fare for a trip from San Francisco to San Jose is $285.
That’s significantly more than an Uber or taxi fare, but Voom is counting on customers to put a higher value on their time.
“Our service will make it easy and affordable for business travelers to travel quickly from locations such as the San Francisco airport to San Jose in only 20 minutes, rather than sitting in traffic for hours trying to get to a meeting,” Voom CEO Clement Monnet said in a news release.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Safran Corporate Ventures say they’ve made a joint investment in Utah-based Electric Power Systems, a company whose energy storage products are blazing a trail for electric airplanes.
It’s the latest tie-up for Boeing and Safran, which have partnered up in such ventures as Initium Aerospace, a manufacturer of auxiliary power units for airplanes; and MATIS Aerospace, a company in Morocco that produces wiring products for several airframe and engine companies.
The size of the Series A funding round was not disclosed, but Boeing HorizonX’s investments typically range from millions of dollars to the low tens of millions of dollars.
Representatives of both companies said the funding will help Electric Power Systems develop a highly automated industrial base capable of producing aviation-grade energy storage systems, and advance technologies aimed at reducing the cost of battery systems for electric airplanes.