LOS ANGELES Boeing Co. has picked Everett, Wash., as the production site for the new composite wing of its 777X airliner.
Construction of a 1-million-square-foot plant will begin later this year in Everett, which is also the current final assembly location of the current 777 twin-aisle airliner, Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement.
Everetts selection comes after Boeings largest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, in January narrowly approved an eight-year contract extension to 2024 (amm.com, Jan. 6). The IAM accepted significant concessions in return for Boeings promise to continue the planes production in the Pacific Northwest.
The composite wing on the 777X will replace a current aluminum skin wing, while also incorporating a new engine that would increase fuel efficiency. Boeing said it has "targeted" initial delivery of the 777X for 2020.
The industry has estimated the 777s current titanium buy weight at about 150,000 pounds. The composite wing might raise this total by roughly 10 percent since composites are normally associated with greater use of titanium, according to industry observers.
The unions vote to extend the contract also commits Boeing to build the 777X fuselage and continue final assembly and fabrication of certain major components in Everett. Before the union accepted Boeings offer, the company was considering proposals from a number of other U.S. sites for production of the 777 derivative.