The first of two French companies that will make parts for Boeing's new 787 jet announced plans yesterday to open a manufacturing plant...

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The first of two French companies that will make parts for Boeing’s new 787 jet announced plans yesterday to open a manufacturing plant in Everett. A second is choosing between Washington state and British Columbia.

Together, the two suppliers are likely to provide more than 100 assembly and support jobs working on the wheels, brakes and landing gear of the new jet, whose final assembly will be in Everett.


Bills now before the state Legislature aim to expand tax breaks for aerospace manufacturers to include such suppliers. The tax breaks passed in 2003.

Messier-Bugatti, a Paris-based subsidiary of the Snecma Group jet-engine and aviation-equipment conglomerate, announced yesterday it had signed a lease for 25,000 square feet of light manufacturing, office and distribution space in a building near Boeing’s Everett plant.


The company will design and manufacture wheels, brakes and control units for the 787.

John Monroe, a consultant to the Snohomish County Economic Development Council (EDC), estimates up to 50 jobs may result.


Messier-Bugatti employs 25 people in a smaller space close to the new one. Those workers make electrical systems for passenger seats on Boeing aircraft.

“We’re thrilled about this first commitment,” EDC President Deborah Knutson said. “It took longer than any of us expected.”


The second French company is Messier-Dowty, another subsidiary of Snecma that will provide the 787’s landing gear.

Messier-Dowty employs about 30 people in a Kent engineering office.


For the 787, the company needs an assembly site of about 50,000 square feet and 50 to 60 people, said Luigi Mattia, 787 vice president and program manager.

Six months ago, Boeing told Messier-Dowty it would have to deliver the nose landing gear to Wichita, Kan., where it would be attached under the cockpit section to be built there.


However, the two sets of main landing gear that go under the wing will be attached during 787 final assembly in Everett.

Messier-Dowty has committed to building all the landing gear “relatively close by to Everett,” Mattia said.


However, “relatively close” could be hours away. The company, which has its main North American plant in Toronto, is considering British Columbia, Mattia said. A decision is likely within six months.

Last week, Messier-Dowty was one of two aerospace companies that sent managers to testify in Olympia before House and Senate panels considering adjustments to the tax-incentive package that won the 787 for the state.


Bills before the Legislature would extend the manufacturer’s tax benefits granted then to those involved in engineering research and development.

Messier-Dowty would be a direct beneficiary.


Robin Pollard, 7E7 project coordinator in the Governor’s Office, described the bills as “technical fixes” to allow all aerospace companies investing here for the 787 to qualify for benefits.

Pollard said the Department of Revenue has estimated the fiscal impact of the bills would be a $5 million hit to state revenue over two years. The upside, she said, is the expansion of the tax breaks would “keep these companies here or encourage them to expand.”


Last year, some hoped there would be a major influx of aerospace suppliers because Everett had won final-assembly work.

However, the largest prize, worth some 600 jobs, escaped when Vought of Texas and Alenia of Italy chose Charleston, S.C., for major plants to build and integrate the airplane’s aft fuselage sections.


Whatever the incentives offered, the final tally of 787 suppliers that will locate in the state is limited by Boeing’s new global manufacturing process.

“A lot of (the 787) will be assembled in other parts of the world and delivered here,” Knutson said. “So I don’t know how many more it could be.”


State economic-development officials are working on persuading the two 787 engine suppliers — Rolls-Royce of England and General Electric of Connecticut — to do final preparation work on the engines in Washington state.

“That’s still a hopeful,” said Knutson.


Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com