June 10, 2020 / 9:36 PM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 1-Boeing supplier Spirit announces layoffs due to virus, 737 MAX impacts

(Adds details on Spirit's finances, 737 MAX certification)

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE, June 10 (Reuters) - Aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc announced on Wednesday a 21-day layoff for staff doing production and support work for Boeing Co's 737 program.

Spirit, which makes the 737 fuselage, said the temporary layoffs and furloughs of roughly 900 workers at its Wichita, Kansas, facility would be effective June 15. The company cited impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the 737 MAX's return to service following fatal crashes as reasons for the cuts.

Spirit's announcement comes two weeks after Boeing said it resumed production of the 737 MAX, with a goal of handing jets over to airlines in the third quarter.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

Boeing aims to conduct a key certification test flight on the 737 MAX jet in late June, two people briefed on the matter said earlier on Wednesday.

In May, Spirit, Boeing's largest supplier, said its cash flow outlook for the year had worsened as Boeing and key customer Airbus SE cut production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown)

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