Aerospace Defense Firms Launch Measures to Avoid COVID-19 Spread; Ellen Lord Quoted

Jeff Brody
Ellen Lord

Boeing (NYSE: BA), Textron’s (NYSE: TXT) Bell subsidiary and other aerospace defense manufacturers have increased cleaning efforts and implemented telework capabilities, social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and maintain operations, FlightGlobal reported Friday.

Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment and a 2020 Wash100 award winner, released a memo on March 20 that identified the defense industrial base as a “critical infrastructure sector” that should maintain normal work schedules for its workforce amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to cleaning initiatives, Boeing said it is “minimizing the number and frequency of face-to-face meetings with larger groups in areas with active coronavirus transmission.”

Bell said it has offered employees staggered work schedules, remote working capabilities and other flexible working arrangements. “These measures limit exposure to those performing essential manufacturing, design and support work onsite,” according to the company.

Other companies that have initiated similar efforts are Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), Sikorsky and AeroVironment.

Lord said she has collaborated with state governors to help exempt aerospace defense companies and their employees from quarantine enforcement efforts and that the Pentagon is monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks near defense firms.

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