Boeing has selected Everett, Wash., as the location to build a new composite wing center for the 777X program.
The move comes after Boeing union workers in Washington state narrowly approved a labor contract extension in January to 2024 that the manufacturer had cited as necessary for keeping 777X production at Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ facilities in the Seattle area.
The new composite wing center will be located north of Boeing’s existing Everett factory. “Locating the new composite wing center in Everett is a win for all of our teammates and partners,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said in a statement. “This will put our workforce on the cutting edge of composite technology and allow us to build on the infrastructure and logistics system we have in Everett. This decision will strengthen the company’s competitiveness and help it grow for the long term.”
Boeing said the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 751, which represents more than 30,000 Boeing factory workers in the Seattle area, played a key role in the selection of the Everett site thanks to IAM members voting yes—by a 51% to 49% margin—on a new labor deal that gives the manufacturer greater stability. The composite wing center location choice “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,” IAM International president Tom Buffenbarger said in a statement.
The new facility will span about 1 million square feet, Boeing said, adding that construction of the site will begin later this year. “Assembly of the composite wings will also take place at the company’s Everett site, with the exact location to be determined in the months ahead,” Boeing said.
Washington governor Jay Inslee said, “The work at [the new composite wing center] launches Washington into the forefront of advanced composites manufacturing—an industry with exciting growth potential beyond aerospace.”
Boeing has said the 777X will enter service in 2020.