Coronavirus: Flight test programs continue as Boeing and Airbus cut production – Aerospace Testing International

Coronavirus: Flight test programs continue as Boeing and Airbus cut production – Aerospace Testing International

The world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers are reducing production rates and cutting jobs to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, while their major flight test programs remain ongoing.

In briefings given around the financial reports for the first quarter of the year held this week, the firms outlined how aircraft production and jobs are being cut to help the businesses remain viable during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Despite the drastic measures, flight test programs are continuing at both companies.

Boeing confirmed this week that it is making progress on its 777X, 737 MAX 10 commercial aircraft development programs as well as on its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Its defense programs, such as the MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone, T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer and the MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter are also ongoing.

Meanwhile Airbus is continuing operations from its Toulouse Flight Test Operations Center and using test aircraft to airlift shipments of medical supplies around the world.

Production plans

Airbus and Boeing have both reported that airlines are delaying purchases for new aircraft and that deliveries of completed airplanes have been disrupted by virus-related travel restrictions.

However, after stopping manufacturing activities to various degrees, both companies have reopened factories with enhanced health and safety measures in place. Airbus reopened most of its sites throughout Europe in late March, while Boeing has more recently resumed operations in the USA at sites including Puget Sound, South Carolina and Philadelphia.

Boeing 777X

Boeing 777X WH001 makes its first flight at Paine Field in Everett, Washington on January 25, 2020 (Image: Boeing)

Airbus has reduced production rates to roughly a third of its
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