EVERETT - Boeing on Wednesday opened its new Everett delivery center, replacing the old one with a structure three times bigger, and much nicer.

Now, airplane executives and foreign government officials, which sometimes include royalty who often fly home aboard a newly delivered jet, can walk directly on a plane through a covered jet way rather than dart through the drizzle on a cold Northwest morning.

And while portions of the new delivery center have the latest airport technology, it's much more than that. There are large spaces for parties and other upscale functions that often accompany delivery of a new jet costing hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention billions spent on fleets of planes.

But beyond the sweeping architectural curves, there is serious business that goes on there - the signing of contracts and exchange of money before the turning over of the ceremonial keys.

Boeing won't disclose the cost of the new structure, but it's fair to say it cost millions for 18,000 square feet.

We wouldn't build a facility like this if we weren't committed to the area, said Pan Shanahan, Boeing's Senior VP and General Manager for Airplane Programs.

Shanahan says in a time when Boeing is delivering record numbers of wide bodied jets, including around 200 this year, the new delivery center has what it takes to get planes into the hands of airlines.

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