The Boeing Co. says it will finish and deliver 737s to Chinese airlines from Zhoushan, an island city on China’s southeastern coast.
The airplanes will be assembled in Renton, then flown to Zhoushan. There, workers will install interiors, paint the aircraft and deliver them to customers.
The installation work and painting will be done at a facility that is a joint venture between Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC). Boeing will operate the delivery center.
“This facility will support Chinese customers and enhance Boeing’s market access to the world’s largest airplane market,” the company said in a statement Friday.
The aerospace giant’s rival, Airbus Group, already has an A320 assembly line in Tianjin, China, and last year, said it plans to open an A330 finishing and delivery center.
“This facility in China will increase Boeing’s 737 production capacity and will not result in layoffs or reduce employment for the 737 Program,” Boeing said.
Boeing and COMAC announced the joint venture in September 2015.
The partnership comes even as COMAC is trying to break into the single-aisle airplane market dominated by the 737 and A320. COMAC rolled out its first C919 in November 2015. Since being unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow in 2010, more than 500 orders have been placed for the twin-engine airplane — nearly all by China-based airlines.
It’s development has been dogged by delays. The C919 was originally supposed to fly in 2014. Now, COMAC says it will be late this year or early 2017.