Boeing says it will make 777 site choice within 3 months

Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said the company will decide where to locate production of its new 777 wide-body jet within three months after talks to anchor the work in the Seattle region failed.

“We have a number of alternatives,” McNerney told reporters at the Dubai Air Show on Monday, adding that the goal is to find sites that provide a competitive price and low risk. “We are going through an evaluation right now.”

Boeing’s Machinists union voted against an eight-year contract extension last week that would have cut pension and other benefits while keeping 777 work in Washington state. A manufacturing shift for the revamp of the best-selling wide-body would be a blow to Everett, Seattle and Puget Sound area, where Boeing was founded in 1916.

A 777-9 seating more than 400 people due from 2020 and a smaller -8 with room for around 350 were formally introduced yesterday with a combined 259 orders from Dubai-based Emirates, Etihad Airways PJSC of Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways Ltd., together with Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which had previously committed to a model that features a new wing and engine.

The Middle East’s dominance of the backlong is not a concern, according to McNerney. “I am highly confident this will be a big global success on every continent around the world,” he said.

Boeing is also focused on fixing reliability issues that some customers are experiencing with their 787-8 Dreamliners, McNerney said, adding that normal levels of reliability should be achieved “by the middle of next year at the latest.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Wall in London at rwall6@bloomberg.net

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