Up to 670 production workers from Lockheed Corp. will be loaned to the Boeing Co. to help build Boeing’s new 747-400 jumbo jet under an agreement being worked out between the two aerospace companies, Boeing said today.
Boeing said in a news release that it is nearing final agreement with Lockheed on an “industry assist contract” that would take experienced Lockheed workers to the 747-400 production line in Everett, Wash., for up to six months.
Under a preliminary agreement, an initial contingent of 26 Lockheed workers reported to the plant today. They will undergo five days of certification training required by the Federal Aviation Administration to qualify them for working on Boeing aircraft, the company said.
Lockheed, a major aerospace defense contractor based in Calabasas, Calif., stopped making commercial jets in the mid-1980s. Its last commercial jet was the L-1011 TriStar, a three-engine wide-body jet that went into service in 1972.
Boeing has suffered repeated delays in bringing out its new model 747, the West’s largest commercial jet, but started making deliveries earlier this year. With record orders for new business, the company also has had problems finding enough new skilled workers.
“Securing the assistance of the experienced Lockheed employees is one of the many steps we are taking toward meeting the new 747-400 delivery commitments we have made to our customers,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Dean Thornton said. “Other Boeing organizations also are helping us by reassigning some of their experienced employees to the 747-400 program.”
Boeing did not say in its news release how much Lockheed would be compensated for the employees. Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ public relations workers were in a meeting this morning and not immediately available for comment, a receptionist said.
Boeing said the Lockheed workers who reported to Boeing are flight line and assembly mechanics and electricians. They average nine years of employment with Lockheed.
Lockheed also is to provide electronics installers, quality control inspectors, methods analysts and production planners.
Last week, stock prices for both Boeing and Lockheed rose after Business Week magazine quoted unidentified sources as saying Boeing might be interested in buying the California-based company.
Boeing officials declined to comment on that report, but some stock analysts discounted the speculation, saying it is unlikely that Boeing would want to take on new challenges when it already faces delays and production problems.