Boeing to scatter 777 design work to several sites

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News Aviation Specialist

NWCN.com

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:16 PM

SEATTLE -- An internal Boeing memo Wednesday stated that a good deal of the detailed design work for the 777X wide body jet will be carried out by teams outside of Washington.

The memo was sent to workers from Mike Delaney, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Engineering, and Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Airplane Development.

According to the memo, much of the design work will be carried out at other Boeing locations in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Louis, Huntsville, Alabama, and even Moscow, Russia, where Boeing has engineers.

Design work for the new longer 777, named the 777X, will start soon. The plane will have a traditional aluminum body, but paired up with composite carbon and plastic resin wings, like the 787 Dreamliner.

 In the internal Boeing memo, the two key executives said, "At this time, no decisions have been made about 777X design or build in Puget Sound."

SPEEA, the union representing 20,000 engineering employees at Boeing, said the memo doesn't mean core design work will not stay in Puget Sound.

"We fully expect Puget Sound to play the key integrating role needed to avoid a replication of the problems experienced by the 787 program," said SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth.

Goforth said on the 787, a lot of the design work was farmed out to suppliers that made a lot of the parts and that's where there were a lot of problems. It's that part of work that's coming back into Boeing, but going to other parts of Boeing in other states.

Boeing had previously stated that engineering work handled by suppliers for the 787 would be brought in-house for the next program.

"In addition, we are leveraging lessons learned on 787 and 747-8 to ensure continuity across the 777X program," the memo said. "The announced structure will allow for an efficient use of resources and enable Boeing to resolve design issues effectively the first time.

This still leaves the question of where this airplane gets assembled and who ultimately designs it. The answer to that won't be known for months.

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