Boeing to hire hundreds to support grounded Max fleet in Moses Lake

MOSES LAKE, Wash. - Boeing is preparing to hire hundreds of temporary employees in Moses Lake to support the growing fleet of grounded 737 Max jetliners being stored there, company officials confirmed Tuesday.

The aerospace giant is looking to hire "a few hundred" workers with specific skills, including avionics technicians, aircraft mechanics, airframe and power plant mechanics and aircraft electricians, said Boeing spokesman Paul R. Bergman.

A growing number of Max jets are piling up on the tarmac at Boeing's test facility at the east end of the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake - and at a few other sites - while the company continues to churn out 42 of the grounded aircraft each month.

The extra workers are needed to assist and support Max storage at Moses Lake during the grounding - and then to help ready the planes for delivery once the grounding is lifted.

"Our current plan calls for all airplanes stored outside Puget Sound to return to Seattle and Everett for delivery," Bergman said in a prepared statement. "We do not provide details on total airplanes or capacity at each site."

The 737 Max grounding will continue until regulators approve a fix for a software malfunction that is believed to be a factor in two crashes that killed 346 passengers in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Boeing is hoping to roll out a software fix next month that will allow the grounding to be lifted by October. But the Federal Aviation Administration says it has no specific deadline for approving a software fix, and some airlines already have said they don't expect the grounding to end until some time next year.

"It is the FAA and other global aviation regulators that will determine when the 737 Max returns to service, and we are working tirelessly to meet their requirements," Bergman said.

The extra Moses Lake workers hired by Boeing will receive a paid housing and meal allowance, the company said.

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