Boeing is quietly reaching out to retired airplane mechanics for help getting the 737 Max airborne again (BA)

Business Insider Automobile 1 month ago

Boeing is trying to recruit retired employees as temporary workers as it prepares for the 737 Max to return to commercial service.

In a letter received by a retired American Airlines employee and seen by Business Insider, Kevin Brickner, the airline's senior vice president of technical operations, said that Boeing had contacted the airline asking for help contacting qualified, retired technicians at its Moses Lake, Washington facility.

American Airlines confirmed that it sent the letter, and provided Business Insider with a complete copy, which is included at the bottom of this article.

In August, Boeing said that it was planning to add "a few hundred" temporary employees to help get its stored 737 Max aircraft ready for delivery once the FAA lifts the grounding.

However, Boeing now appears to be hastening its hiring timeline as it seeks qualified technicians who are unencumbered by current employers.

The 737 Max has been grounded by global regulators since March, when a 737 Max operating an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed six minutes after taking off, the second fatal crash in five months. The incidents have been blamed on an automated system meant to prevent the plane from stalling, but which was erroneously activated.

Although Boeing has reduced production from 52 of the jets per month to 42 during the grounding, it has not been able to deliver those planes because of the grounding, and has consequently been forced to store them.

Because many of the jets will have been in storage for at least six months by the time the grounding is lifted, they will require extensive maintenance checks and test flights.

The letter says that Boeing is seeking people qualified for specific roles, including aviation technicians, to work for a minimum of six months, but up to a full year.

Although union rules often prohibit retirees from taking other jobs in the industry, the positions appear to be contract, rather than staff, which may help alleviate any conflicts.

Several job listings on Boeing's website for maintenance and technician positions, posted on September 16, indicate the positions are temporary and hourly.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has previously said that the planemaker expects to submit its fix to the Federal Aviation Administration in September, and predicts that the plane will be approved to reenter service in early November.

On Monday, the FAA and Boeing provided a technical briefing in Montreal to global aviation regulators, as the company prepares to submit the fix.

Boeing did not immediately return a request for comment.


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