Boeing Co, (IW500/12) is due to inaugurate a $1-billion assembly plant in Everett, Wash., on Friday, May 20, where composite wings will be integrated to the fuselages of its new 777X wide body jet. The opening for the 1.3-million square-foot plant signifies continued progress in the redevelopment the 777 long-range aircraft series, and a boost to the confidence of the OEM’s West Coast operations – which in recent years have competed with the newer manufacturing base Boeing set up in North Charleston, S.C., as the center of its 787 Dreamliner assembly operations.
The 777X will be a redesigned version of the 777, which already is the world’s largest twin-engine aircraft. The new jets are intended to compete with the new Airbus A350, and will be available in two models, the 777-8X and 777-9X.
While the 777X is not set to make its first appearance until 2020, Boeing has over 300 orders and commitments for the jets from Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways, and other unidentified carriers. Assembly operations are scheduled to begin next year.