Boeing looking to hire ‘several hundred’ aircraft mechanics, maintenance specialists

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Seven Boeing 737 MAX aircraft sitting at the Grant County International Airport. The plane was grounded earlier this year after two fatal crashes linked to a software problem, and will be here until that issue is resolved.

Will help keep 737 Max fleet in Moses Lake

By CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE

Staff Writer

MOSES LAKE — Boeing is looking to hire “several hundred” aircraft mechanics and maintenance specialists to help keep the growing fleet of 737 MAX aircraft in Moses Lake.

“Boeing is preparing to increase staffing and hire a few hundred additional temporary employees at Moses Lake to assist and support 737 MAX storage and per-delivery.” Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman told the Columbia Basin Herald.

Over 50 of the troubled 737 MAX aircraft, which were grounded earlier this year after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia revealed a software problem that could make the plane difficult to fly during takeoff, are parked on Boeing’s facility at the Grant County International Airport.

Bergman, however, would not comment on the number of 737s currently or expected in Moses Lake.

“We do not provide details on total airplanes or capacity at each site,” he said.

Boeing is currently working on a fix to the software issue and Bergman said Boeing is looking to have that fix ready “sometime in the fourth quarter” of 2019.

Even as they are parked awaiting the software fix, the fleet 737s need to be maintained. On Tuesday, the company posted advertisements on its web site for the positions of “Aircraft Test Technician” and “Aviation Maintenance Technician & Inspector,” with a focus on “avionics technicians, aircraft mechanics, airframe and powerplant mechanics, and aircraft electricians,” Bergman said.

Boeing will pay a “housing and a meal allowance” for all new temporary hires, Bergman said.

Bergman said there was no timeline for getting the planes repaired and delivered, but that Boeing is putting the finishing touches on the software fix and is preparing to hand it over to federal regulators for review.

“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.

“Our current plan calls for all airplanes stored outside Puget Sound to return to Seattle and Everett for delivery,” he added.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com

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