Rumors fly about Boeing manufacturing facility
By KAITLIN STROHSCHEIN
Port Orchard Independent Reporter
July 28, 2011 · Updated 12:11 PM
Jim McNerney, Boeing’s chairman and chief executive officer, told analysts and journalists, Wednesday, that Boeing’s directors have definitely not decided where to build the next generation of 737’s, The Seattle Times reports.
The port’s CEO and commissioners began looking, several weeks ago, at ways to entice the airplane manufacturing giant to build its next facility at the South Kitsap Industrial Area.
But Cary Bozeman, the port’s CEO, announced, Tuesday, that their efforts seemed likely to be unsuccessful.
He had read, last week, that Boeing planned to ditch development on a narrowbody jet to, instead, build a modified version of the 737, with a more advanced engine.
Many in the aviation industry, including Bozeman, assumed that Boeing would build the new 737 at the same plant it’s using to manufacture the current version of the 737, in Renton.
“The board hasn’t voted on that, but it certainly looks like that’s where they’re going,” said Bozeman, Tuesday.
McNerney announced, Wednesday, that the assumption is premature.
“We haven’t made a final decision about where we’re going to produce the re-engined airplane,” McNerney said, according to the Seattle Times. “There would be major investments (needed) in Renton beyond the currently planned production rates.
Until we sort that all out, we can’t confirm where we’re going to put it precisely.”
Bozeman plans to continue to participate in teleconferences with a statewide group trying to ensure that, if Boeing builds another plant, it will be in Washington.
“I believe that Boeing will, eventually, make the decision to make a new airplane,” said Bozeman. “. . . you still have to stay on top of this, and when the opportunity comes, you need to be ready.
Chris Case, the marketing manager at the Port of Bremerton, said that Bozeman’s main goal, with the group, is to ensure that Boeing stays in Washington state.
“We’re competing with right-to-work states,” like South Carolina, she said in a phone interview. “We’re sitting there thinking, ‘What could be an enticing package we could give?’ ”