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IndustryWeek’s Daily COVID-19 Updates: March 23

March 23, 2020
GE Aviation Cuts 10% of Jobs; Boeing Closes Puget Sound, Washington Plant; FDA Speeds Ventilator Clearance

Aerospace Sector Struggling to Stem Losses

GE announced it would cut 10% of jobs from its aviation sector as plunging demand for air travel impacts airliners. The move was made as part of a series of cost-cutting moves for the company: GE CEO Larry Culp said he would forgo his personal salary for the rest of 2020. Read the full story here.

In other aviation news, Boeing said they would begin reducing production at its Puget Sound, Washington plant, with a planned full suspension starting Wednesday, March 25.

World Supply Chain Impact

Three trade groups representing companies that make, sell, and distribute cars and motors sent a letter to Congress today asking their industries for help managing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. According to the group, 42 of 44 auto assembly plants in the United States have had their production suspended. Among the groups’ requests: loans for businesses, and a delay in implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Read the full story here.

Elsewhere, Ford announced it would suspend production at plants in India, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam in response to the coronavirus. The suspensions will continue for “several weeks,” pending changes in the pandemic situation. President of Ford’s International Markets Group Mark Ovenden said the automaker is “continuing to act in real time.”

Manufacturers Shifting Gears to Fill Demand

The FDA said March 22 that they would relax enforcement of certain policies in order to make it easier for other manufacturers to produce ventilators. Specifically, the agency said they would enforce less premarket review requirements that can delay deployment. The FDA is also encouraging foreign and domestic manufacturers to pursue emergency use authorizations for their ventilators. The policy is intended to expire after the COVID-19 outbreak has passed.

In China, medical equipment manufacturers are working overtime to fill unprecedented demand for ventilators used for critical cases of COVID-19. In the United States, General Motors, Ford and Tesla have all promised to help as well, questions like what the carmakers’ contribution will be and how soon they’ll be able to make an impact are still unanswered. Read the full story here.

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