By Alwyn Scott
NEW YORK Feb 18 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
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
"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
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.