Boeing executives and Washington state politicians marked the beginning of demolition work at the Everett widebody-jet plant Wednesday to make way for the new 777X composite-wing factory.
Boeing is flattening three office buildings, the first one built in 1968 when the Everett site was developed for the then-new 747 jumbo jet.
Work is already in full swing around those office buildings, with about 190 construction workers on site, projected to grow to up to 1,500 over the next two years.
Some 70 dump trucks are arriving at the site each hour, bringing in loads of dirt to be used to raise the grade level where the office buildings stand to that of the adjacent main factory.
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Attending the ceremony, Gov. Jay Inslee said the composite technology at the facility is key to the state’s manufacturing future and “will lift aviation for decades to come.”
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner mentioned the “sacrifices” required to win the 777X for Washington — a clear allusion to the union contract that froze the Machinists’ traditional pension — but said the wing facility would be a tangible benefit providing many years of work.
“We are firmly entrenched in this community with the 777X,” Conner said.
The new facility should be ready by May 2016 and will house three of the world’s largest autoclaves for hardening the plane’s epoxy-infused, carbon-fiber composite wing skins and spars. Boeing is scheduled to begin 777X production in 2017.
State officials also noted Wednesday that KUKA, the German maker of the manufacturing robots Boeing will use to build the 777X fuselage at an adjacent new building, will put a new service and maintenance hub in Everett, creating about 75 new jobs.
The robot-maker’s 29,000-square-foot facility is the first win of new Boeing supplier work here linked directly to the 777X.
Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or firstname.lastname@example.org