Quick permits promised for a Boeing 777X factory

EVERETT — Four weeks. That’s how quickly state and local officials are committing to hand over permits for a new 777X facility at or near Boeing’s Paine Field factory, should the company wish to build one.

Compare that to a period of 12 to 18 months under normal circumstances.

The new time line for permits was revealed in a report submitted to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee by a task force led by Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson. The panel has wrapped up evaluation of regulatory hurdles for potential 777X manufacturing sites around the airport.

The task force found no significant obstacles for Boeing, should the company pick Snohomish County as the place to assemble an upgraded version of the popular 777, Inslee wrote in a statement emailed to the Herald.

“Winning the design and fabrication of the 777X, its composite wings and as many of its component parts as possible is Washington’s greatest economic development priority,” he wrote.

Boeing has not said where it will assemble the next version of the 777. The present model is built in Everett. The company is expected to launch the 777X this year, perhaps at the Dubai Air Show in November. A decision on the jet’s assembly location could come a few months later.

The 777X will have composite wings, like the Boeing 787. Lawmakers in Washington are anxious to secure the factory for the new wing here. In July, Inslee instructed the state Department of Commerce to designate potential 777X sites as “Projects of Statewide Significance” to help expedite permitting.

The task force identified five possible locations at Paine Field that are large enough to accommodate a wing factory. One is on the Mukilteo side of the airport, on property owned by the county, and four locations are on Boeing’s factory property in Everett, on the northeast side of the airport.

The report suggests the a wing plant might employ up to 1,100 people — an educated guess based on employment at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 787 wing plant in Japan, said Alex Pietsch, director of the Governor’s Office of Aerospace.

Stephanson and other local officials presented the task force report on Wednesday to Bill McSherry, Boeing’s director of state and local government operations for the Northwest. Although Pietsch called the meeting positive, he and Inslee acknowledge there is likely more work to be done in wooing Boeing.

“We are exploring a wide variety of initiatives designed to ensure Boeing chooses Washington for this work,” Inslee wrote in his email.

Other initiatives could be revealed after two other studies, overseen by the Washington Aerospace Partnership, are completed in late September. The partnership is collecting donations from labor groups and government to pay for the studies of the state’s competitiveness and the economic benefit of the aerospace industry.

Washington faces competition for Boeing work from southern U.S. states like South Carolina, where Boeing has a 787 assembly plant, as well as Japan.

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that Boeing will test new ways of automating 777X assembly in Anacortes. The result of that effort could sway the company to keep 777X work in Everett.

Regardless of Boeing’s decision, Snohomish County officials are laying the groundwork for an aerospace industrial park at Paine Field. Should Boeing not want the county-owned site on the west side of the airport, speedy permitting “will benefit other aerospace employers or manufacturers interested in locating in the southwest Everett-Paine Field area,” Everett Mayor Stephanson wrote to Inslee.

Pietsch called expedited permitting a model for how Washington deals with projects of significant economic impact in the future.

Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454; mdunlop@heraldnet.com.

More in Herald Business Journal

Stan Jones (left) father of Vice Chairwoman Teri Gobin, gets a handshake from Jared Parks while Herman Williams Sr. hugs Bonnie Juneau (right) after the Tulalip Tribes and Quil Ceda Creek Casino held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel on Tuesday at the Tulalip Reservation. The casino hotel will be built on 16 acres of ancestral tribal land and will feature a main casino that will showcase as many as 1,500 slot machines. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million project in Tulalip.

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Trudeau snubs Boeing, unveils plan to buy used Aussie jets

Trudeau will be assessing the impact fighter jet contracts have on his country’s economy.

Boeing raises dividend 20%, continues stock buyback program

The manufacturer said it has repurchased $9.2 billion worth of its shares this year.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Hospital companies merge as insurers encroach on their turf

An anticipated deal between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension is only the latest.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Most Read