Boeing 737 MAX grounding has job benefits for Moses Lake college

By Glenn Farley, King 5 News

MOSES LAKE, Wash. — Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington continues to produce 737 MAX jets at a rate of 42 a month. The grounded jets are being flown to Moses Lake in eastern Washington for storage.

The company is hoping the jet, which has been grounded in the U.S. since March 13, will be recertified for flight by the end of the year.

But Boeing has another problem: you can’t just park a plane and walk away as the jets need to be regularly maintained. Boeing has begun the process of hiring more than 100 mechanics and others temporarily to help maintain the jets.

The temporary employees will also upgrade the MAX jets with new software, and other upgrades that may be demanded by the Federal Aviation Administration and other global aviation regulators.

The company also has planes stored in Seattle, Everett, and San Antonio, Texas.

Boeing has had a decades-long relationship with Moses Lake and the huge Grant County International Airport, which is a former Air Force base. That relationship has varied from busy periods with lots of employment to times with minimal caretaker crews.

Dr. Terry Leas, president of Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, said the hope is the MAX storage problem may help boost that relationship. The community college uses the huge airport as part of its well-respected pilot and mechanic training program.

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