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Boeing launches newest 777 with more than $95B in deals

Keywords: Tags  Boeing, 777, 777X, Jim McNerney, titanium, aluminum, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, IAM Emirates Airline

LOS ANGELES — Boeing Co. has launched the newest version of its 777 as it continues to evaluate production sites for the airliner.

The Chicago-based company’s go-ahead is based on 259 orders and commitments for the 777X, a re-engined aircraft with a new folding composite wing, from four customers in Europe and the Middle East. Based on list prices, the agreements are worth more than $95 billion.

The launch was announced at an air show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where Boeing chairman, president and chief executive officer Jim McNerney reportedly said that a decision on the location for final assembly of the plane will be made within three months.

"There’s no specific deadline that we’re working at" for picking a production site, said a spokesman for the parent company’s Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes unit. However, he said he had "no reason to doubt" McNerney’s reported remarks.

The current 777 has a buy weight of about 150,000 pounds of titanium, according to industry estimates, which is expected to grow with the wing’s change from aluminum to composites, since this normally includes greater use of titanium.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers last week turned down a proposed labor agreement that included significant concessions and benefit cuts but would have extended the union’s current contract by eight years to 2024 (, Nov. 15). It would have assured that final assembly, as well as construction of the new wing, would remain in the Puget Sound region. The 777 is currently built at Boeing’s Everett, Wash., facility.

The new orders and commitments announced at the weekend include 150 from Dubai-based Emirates Airline, 50 from Doha, Qatar-based Qatar Airways Co. and 25 from Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Cologne, Germany-based Deutsche Lufthansa AG previously committed to buy 34 planes.

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