By Eric M. Johnson
SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co <BA.N> said on Tuesday it plans to add extra staff and hire “a few hundred” additional temporary employees at an airport in Moses Lake, Washington, where it is storing 737 MAX jetliners, the fast-selling model grounded in the wake of deadly crashes.
The world’s largest planemaker, working to dig itself out of one of the worst crises in its history, said the workers will assist with aircraft maintenance and customer delivery preparations at Grant County International Airport.
Boeing reiterated that it is working towards getting the 737 MAX flying again commercially in the “early fourth quarter” after it wins approval of reprogrammed software for the stall-prevention system at the centre of the crashes.
Boeing said it plans to move all the aircraft from Moses Lake, an eastern Washington location where it runs test flights, to facilities in the Seattle and Everett areas where its factories are located.
Two 737 MAX jets crashed minutes after takeoff in Ethiopia in March and Indonesia in October that together killed nearly 350 people.
Hundreds of Boeing 737 MAX jets remain grounded worldwide, and Boeing has continued building the jets at a rate of 42 per month in the Seattle area. The U.S. planemaker is already storing freshly built aircraft at Moses Lake and outside factories in Renton and Everett near Seattle. It also has jets parked at a facility in San Antonio, Texas.
(For an interactive graphic, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2MaWqTt)
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)