Gov vows to keep 777X in Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee vows to keep assembly of the 777X in Washington State, a development that gained even higher profile this week with the announcement by Boeing Tuesday that it will spend $1bn to expand its Charleston (SC) facility.

In a press gaggle last week following Boeing’s opening of the Everett Delivery Center at Paine Field, where the current generation 777 is assembled, Inslee repeated his vow to win assembly of the successor airplane for Everett.

“Boeing management understands we’re the jewel of aircraft manufacturing in the world,” Inslee said. “We have to understand that every single model from here on, including the 777X, is going to be competed. We need to do our job to be competitive, to improve the skills training from machinists and engineers, to improve the transportation system so that we can move products and Boeing can move their engines back and forth. If we can do these things, we’re always going to be on top and I intend to do that.”

We asked Inslee about Washington’s strict environmental regulations compared with Southern states, including South Carolina, where regulations are much more lax compared with here. Inslee, a strong environmentalist during his tenure in Congress and who has a strong “green” agenda as governor, replied:

“I am firmly of the conviction that we can have a sound environment and a booming economy, including aerospace. What we can do is maintain our standards but I do hope we can find a way to expedite our permitting decision-making. I think we can make these on a more timely basis and I am working with my regulatory agencies to do that. I believe Boeing values the environment as we do in Washington, and we’re going to have both.”

The press gaggle then shifted over to Pat Shanahan, VP of Aircraft Programs, who was the ranking Boeing representative at the Delivery Center’s opening. In his position, he is also keenly involved in new aircraft development.

Given the now-paranoid nature of Washington politicians and media over Boeing’s future here, Shanahan was asked if the new Delivery Center had any bearing on Boeing’s commitment to Puget Sound.

“We wouldn’t build a facility like this if we weren’t committed to it,” he said. We then asked if the Everett facility has enough room to seamlessly integrate the 777X, or whether an expansion would be required, or whether another airplane program would have to be discontinued to make way. We noted that the Renton facility had to displace some staging areas for parts and equipment currently serving the 737NG production to make way for the 737 MAX line start-up.

“We have a lot of options,” replied. “You saw in Renton we had a lot of options. Over the course doing any kind of development, or laying out a program, you go through every one of those as well as what kind of investments are required and what kind of business case you need to make. We’re in the midst of the 777X doing lots of studies.”

Shanahan declined to answer a question from a reporter whether the 777X will kill the stagnant 747-8I.


13 Comments on “Gov vows to keep 777X in Washington

    • I wonder how it looks in the present day. Looking at the delivery center these latest pictures are not all too recent. I’d guess it would be even more filled with planes. Quite a number of 747 stored as well btw

    • Ha Ha, Pain Field! Never heard that one before.

      Not too many 747-8’s there anymore, only 9. There are none in storage, 2 undergoing rework/change incorporation, and 7 undergoing pre-delivery preparations and flight testing.

      Because of the grounding, the 787-8 situation is very different with 44 stashed at different places around the airport. If one wants to be picky, all of the 787-8’s except for the LOT bird are in storage. However, once the grounding is lifted, 25 will be ready and waiting for the battery fix installation followed by pre-delivery testing and pre-delivery flight testing. Only 9 are left in storage and 10 are currently undergoing rework/change incorporation.

      Recent photos of the Boeing flight line at Paine Field can be found at:

  1. I was reading this 777X comment from Leahy:

    In comments to Flight International, Airbus sales boss John Leahy indicated British Airways is leaning toward the A350 rather than Boeing’s 787-10 or a possible 777X.

    The airline has said it expects to decide by the end of this year on its second round of orders to replace its long-haul jets. BA previously went with the 787 and A380 but passed on the 747-8 Intercontinental and said it would further evaluate the A350, 777X and 787-10.

    Boeing is expected to decide before the end of this year how big to make the 787-10, but it likely will be around 310 seats; certainly not the 350 seater than some airlines like Qantas want. Qantas is talking to Airbus about the A350-1000

    At some point, Boeing must decide what it will do to make the 777-300ER more competitive against the A350-1000, but it has time because the biggest A350 model won’t enter service until 2015 at the earliest.

    Boeing boss Jim McNernery said earlier this month he does not expect any decision this year about the 777.

    and then I saw the article was a bit dated, it’s from more then 5 yrs ago actually. How things have changed over that time.. not. We’ve been repeating each other for yrs.

  2. It’s the wing, stupid! 🙂

    The 787-grounding imbroglio could turn out to be the last straw that made JAL seriously entertain the idea of acquiring a mixed fleet in the future. Boeing Fortress – Japan, therefore, may be crumbling due to the law of unintended consequences, as JAL is seriously looking at the A350-1000. The raison d’etre for outsourcing to Mitsubishi the detailed work of designing the ribs, spars, wing covers and other components of the wing — and then building the parts — was apparently based on Boeing wanting to keep Airbus out of Japan at all costs. Of course, the estimated over $1.5billion in Japanese Government subsidies to support the 787 program, consisting of 30 percent non-repayable grants and 70 percent in repayable loans, didn’t hurt the original business case either for the 787 program.

    Now, if Airbus breaks Boeing’s stronghold of the Japanese market, would Boeing want to build the 777X-wing in Japan? Probably not, although Mitsubishi’s existing composite wing production know-how and competence would probably be beneficial in carrying through a 777X program. Where then, if not in Japan, would Boeing set up shop to build the 777X wing? It seems to me that the only other options would be Everett or Charleston. Since a composite 777-X wing would require all new, large-scale production facilities, Boeing IMO would be less inclined to make such a large investment in Everett than in Charleson due in part to the fractitious relationship between the Boeing Company and the unionized personnel working for Boeing in Washingthon State. Hence, the bet that the 777X-wing will be produced in Charleston. If Boeing would choose to put together the 777X at the existing 777 Final Assembly Line (FAL) at Everett, the Charleston produced 777X-wing would have to be shipped by sea, since the DREAMLIFTER is not big enough to carry it. However, if Boeing would choose instead to locate final assembly of the 777X in Charleston, the current DREAMLIFTER fleet could carry 777X fuselage sections — produced at the existing 777 facilities at Everett — on otherwise empty return flights between Everett and Charleston.

    • Is the wing to wide to fit in the dreamliner? With the folding tip, it shouldn’t be too long, right?

    • Truly amazing! The 777X isn’t even approved for sales presentations and OV-099 has already determined where major subassemblies and final assembly will take place. Do you Airbus [edited] boys stay up nights thinking this stuff up?

      • Yes, who does that OV guy think he is? You know, putting two and two together…… 😉

        Boeing has been crystal clear on where they intend to assemble the 777X – not, and perception management seems to have been a favourite with Boeing PR for quite some time.

        Meanwhile the world goes on.

        Some industry commentators have accused Boeing of leaving the door open to Airbus’s latest designs by appearing to drag out the launch of its proposed “777X,” especially while distracted by the Dreamliner’s grounding over safety concerns.

        “If Boeing had any doubts about the need to move aggressively on 777X, this should remove those doubts,” said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Virginia-based Teal Group.

        “It is a strong reminder that there is a replacement cycle coming up at key customers,” he said.

        Boeing insists there is no let-up in the design of the 777X, which is expected to include folding wingtips to allow for an increased wingspan while fitting at existing parking stands.

        “We continue to study an airplane that would enter service near the end of the decade,” said Boeing spokeswoman Karen Crabtree. “We are moving forward aggressively with customers; they are happy with the airplane design and we are happy with the progress that has been made.

      • Jack, don’t you know that us Euros live in socialist heaven, free healthcare and roasted chicken floating around working 4 days @ 4 hours per week but getting paid 40h?

        We obviously don’t need to sacrifice our well earned sleep 😉

      • Uwe, I obviously forgot the amount of day time Euro’s have to come up with unsupported opinions. I am happy that there is no loss of sleep. BTW you forgot to mention the amount of vacation (holiday) time to allow for same.

  3. My guess is that the 777X and its wing will be produced in Everett, a new small airplane will end up in Charleston, and Boeing will be moved out of Renton by 2030.

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