Boeing Co. said Wednesday it has resumed production of its troubled 737 MAX aircraft at its Renton, Wash. factory.
The move comes as Boeing separately announced it is cutting 6,770 jobs, citing the COVID-19 pandemic’s “devastating impact on the airline industry.”
The 737 Max was grounded in March of 2019 after two fatal crashes blamed on its control systems. The company is still awaiting Federal Aviation Administration certification to allow the aircraft to resume flying.
Resumption of 737 Max production has begun “at a low rate,” according to a company statement. The company halted production in January, even before the COVID-19 pandemic brought global travel to a standstill.
Boeing closed down all of its plane production in late March as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated and states began ordering residents to shelter in place. Production of other models resumed in late April.
The 737 program will gradually ramp up production this year, the company said.
Orders for new aircraft and services have dried up in the wake of the collapse in global travel. Boeing reported no orders for new planes in April and said existing customers are cancelling or delaying orders.
The company said that “mechanics and engineers collaborated to refine and standardize work packages in each position of the factory,” during the production shutdown.
“We’ve been on a continuous journey to evolve our production system and make it even stronger,” Walt Odisho, vice president and general manager of the 737 program, said in a statement.
Shares of Boeing rose $6.85, or 4.6%, to $156.37 in after-hours trading. The stock gained 3.3% in the regular session.