WASHINGTON — After a two-week closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Boeing on April 20 is set to reopen the Philadelphia-area facility where the H-47 Chinook and several other military helicopters are built, the company announced on Friday.
Boeing manufactures the H-47 Chinnook cargo helicopter, the V-22 Osprey and the MH-138 Grey Wolf helicopter at its production line in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Operations at that installation have been suspended since April 3. During that time, the company cleaned the entire facility, Boeing said in a statement.
Employees who can work from home will still have the option to telework, but Boeing has added hand-sanitizing stations and will make face masks available for workers at the facility. The company is also requiring employees coming into work to go through a temperature screening before starting a shift, and workstations will be spaced farther apart to reduce the risk of transmission.
“The number one priority is and will continue to be protecting the health and safety of our employees, their families and all of our stakeholders,” the company said in a statement.
The decision to open the plant in the Philadelphia area follows a similar one made by Boeing earlier this week to restart operations at its facilities in the region near Puget Sound, Washington. The company restarted production of the P-8 maritime surveillance plane and KC-46 tanker this past Monday and will resume production of commercial airliners made at those facilities on April 20.
Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.