Boeing to place new 777X wing factory near jet's assembly site

NEW YORK Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:19pm EST

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co said it would locate a new factory for building the wings of its forthcoming 777X jet in Everett, Washington, where it currently builds 777 jetliners.

The decision, though widely expected, nevertheless confirms the aerospace giant's plan to build the carbon-composite wing close to where the full jet will be assembled. It marks a departure from the large-scale outsourcing to overseas suppliers that caused significant delay on Boeing's 787 jet.

Locating the factory in Everett is expected to reduce the risk that delivery of the first 777X jet would be delayed beyond the target date of 2020, analysts have said.

In announcing the move, Boeing reaffirmed that it plans to deliver the first of the new fuel-efficient jetliners in 2020. Last year, the company had indicated that it was aiming for around the end of the decade.

The project includes building a 1 million-square-foot factory for fabrication of the wings. The wings will be assembled in the Everett area, with the location to be set in coming months, Boeing said.

The 777X will be the latest version of the company's best-selling widebody jet, a so-called minijumbo, which carries a list price of up to $320 million. The current versions are capable of seating up to 550 passengers in a single-class configuration, according to Boeing. In a more typical three-class configuration, the jet family seats up to 386 passengers and has a range of up to 9,395 nautical miles.

Political and union leaders praised the decision, noting that it ensures thousands of jobs will remain in the Puget Sound area.

"This marks the first step in a bricks-and-mortar commitment by Boeing to build a facility that will be home to the jobs and technology of tomorrow - not in a foreign country or a distant state, but right here in the Pacific Northwest," said R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers, which oversees the local lodges of machinists in Washington.

The jobs were in question last year after Boeing received bids from 21 other states seeking to host the new factory.

Boeing agreed to build the plant in the Puget Sound area after Boeing's 31,000 machinists ratified an eight-year extension to their labor contract in early January. The contract guaranteed the work but also ended contributions to the employee's pension, replacing it with a defined contribution savings plan.

The agreement also ensures that Boeing returns the knowledge about commercial composite wing fabrication and assembly to the United States. Composite wings for the 787 Dreamliner are made in Japan, and Mitsubishi Heavy had proposed building 777X wings in Japan.

The decision "launches Washington into the forefront of advanced composites manufacturing - an industry with exciting growth potential beyond aerospace," Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (8)
Go figure, another notch in the cap for the union workers in Everett. Looks like Boeing wizened up after the experiment to use lower pad/less capable workers in SC on its 787, where they are having serious issues. Like having to fix many problems on SC built planes in Everett. Right now the union workers in Everett are saving Boeing’s behind on the 787.

Feb 18, 2014 12:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
LOL@Big2Tex, how can I be a member of the ‘socialist workers party’ when I have clearly said in the past I a big supporter of free market capitalism, while at the same time not trying to make it harder for workers to organize if they wish. as I believe, pragmatically, that the key to long term sustainability is to have the majority of the population prosper, instead of just a select few. and one of the ways you can do this in a free market system, is by having strong unions and/or labor laws.

Anyhow, here is one article I will cite for proof, I did not think it was necessary as I thought it common knowledge among those that keep up on things that Boeing is having serious production issues with the SC plant….

There are more, do a little googling, then you might not look so ignorant next time :)

Feb 18, 2014 1:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:
Nothing, again nothing is as important as the wing design. Re leaved to find Boeing is securing this with the security of Everett, not letting this technology be exposed to Tea-GOP shenanigans. It was the political free trade idea of outsourcing the nuclear submarine propeller to JA that was coincidental to USSR nuclear submarines suddenly going stealthy. I remember the 1960′s very well.
Attaboy Boeing, I feel better about my small number of stocks.

Feb 18, 2014 1:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.