Everything revolved around the 787 in Snohomish County’s economy

EVERETT — In 2009, Snohomish County’s aerospace industry seemed to revolve around the Boeing Co.’s 787.

“The 787 was the macro story” of the year for Snohomish County, said Scott Hamilton, an analyst with Issaquah-based Leeham Co.

Like the character in a novel, the 787 has become intertwined with so many lives in the county, so many of 2009’s top stories here. Perhaps the most pervasive plot line for the 787 in 2009 was one of delays. The delays of Boeing’s 787, in essence, created or contributed to many of the other major aerospace stories affecting Snohomish County in 2009.

The 787’s delays meant that its supply chain, partially based in Snohomish County, didn’t get paid for work done on the mostly composite Dreamliner. As a result, suppliers didn’t increase their employment in the county, Hamilton noted. In fact, Snohomish County lost about 1,000 jobs in aerospace in 2009.

South Carolina: The Dreamliner delays also played into Boeing’s decision to establish a second production line in South Carolina. Boeing 787 supplier Vought Aircraft Industries had trouble with initial production. The supplier also found it difficult to cope financially as a result of the 787 delays.

Boeing’s announcement, made in late October, sent shock waves around the Puget Sound region. Boeing’s unions pointed out that their workers here have been forced to correct problems caused by suppliers elsewhere, including South Carolina. The Everett factory will see an increase in employment as the South Carolina site comes on line. Overall, however, South Carolina won jobs that Washington leaders would have liked to keep in state.

747-8: Dreamliner delays also held up Boeing’s remade 747 jumbo jet. The 747-8 Freighter will make its first flight early in 2010. But Boeing has said it kept engineers on the 787 program rather than switching them over to the 747, forcing Boeing to delay the jumbo jet’s debut as well. As it stands, Boeing has about half its factory tied up in working on “really delayed” jets, Hamilton said.

Tanker: Lawmakers and community leaders in Washington state have upped the importance they place on the upcoming U.S. Air Force tanker competition following Boeing’s decision to place its second 787 line in South Carlolina.

Boeing job cuts: Early in 2009, Boeing leaders said they would slash employment company wide by 6 percent or by roughly 10,000 jobs, in response to tough market conditions. But cutting its workforce also helps Boeing improve its bottom line in light of billions of dollars of extra development and engineering costs caused by the 787’s delay, to say nothing of the compensation sought by Dreamliner and 747-8 customers. Through the end of November, Boeing had cut its Washington state workforce by nearly 4,000. Snohomish County lost about 1,000 aerospace workers — from Boeing and suppliers combined — in 2009.

First flight: Although the delays of the 787 have hurt Boeing and Snohomish County, both got to end 2009 on a high note with the first flight of the Dreamliner. The event gave many Boeing workers, suppliers and political leaders hope that 2010 will be a better year for aerospace in Snohomish County.

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

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Nuno Taborda
Former Rolls Royce executive to lead Everett aerospace firm

magniX, which builds electric aircraft motors, has hired Nuno Taborda as its next CEO.

Janette Burk and Timur Keskinturk are fighting to keep their coffee shop location in Alderwood Mall. Photographed in Seattle, Washington on May 23, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A Turkish café served coffee next to Starbucks. They were told to move.

After years, Kismet Turkish Cafe Bakery’s owners say they were told to relocate in Alderwood mall due to a nearby Starbucks kiosk.

Epic Ford on the corner of 52nd Street and Evergreen Way in Everett is closed. The dealership has been in business for more than 50 years. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
After 50 years, Everett’s Epic Ford dealership closes shop

It opened in 1971, when gas guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang still ruled the road.

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. Amazon shareholders on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 voted down a proposal calling for an independent audit of working conditions at the e-commerce behemoth's warehouses. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon shareholders nix warehouse working conditions audit

They did, however, approve compensation packages for six top executives, including CEO Andy Jassy.

Dan Bates / The Herald
When Seattle Genetics founder, Clay Siegall lost his father while in college, he switched from studying for an MD to studying for a PhD., and a goal to treat cancer patients.  His efforts are paying off in lives.
Bothell biotech CEO resigns after domestic-violence allegation

Clay Siegall co-founded Seagen, which develops therapies for cancer patients. He’s accused of attacking his wife.

FILE - A sign at a Starbucks location in Havertown, Pa., is seen April 26, 2022. Starbucks says it will pay travel expenses for U.S. employees to access abortion or gender-confirmation procedures if those services aren't available within 100 miles of a worker’s home. The Seattle coffee chain says, Monday, May 16, 2022, the benefit will also be available to dependents of employees enrolled in its health care coverage. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
Starbucks will cover travel for workers seeking abortions

Amazon and Tesla also will provide the benefit. Walmart and Facebook have stayed silent.

A barista pours steamed milk into a red paper cup while making an espresso drink at a Starbucks coffee shop in the Pike Place Market, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. It's as red as Santa's suit, a poinsettia blossom or a loud Christmas sweater. Yet Starbucks' minimalist new holiday coffee cup has set off complaints that the chain is making war on Christmas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Interfaith group asks Starbucks to drop vegan milk surcharge

They say the practice amounts to a tax on people who have embraced plant-based lifestyles.

FILE - In this Monday, March 1, 2021 file photo, The first Alaska Airlines passenger flight on a Boeing 737-9 Max airplane takes off on a flight to San Diego from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A Boeing pilot involved in testing the 737 Max jetliner was indicted Thursday, Oct. 14,2021 by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane, which was later involved in two deadly crashes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines to keep canceling flights at high level for weeks

Flight cancellations since April will continue. The chaos has been damaging for Seattle’s hometown airline.

FILE - An airplane flies past the Boeing logo on the company's headquarters in Chicago, on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2001. Boeing Co., a leading defense contractor and one of the world's two dominant manufacturers of airline planes, is expected to move its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, D.C., area, according to two people familiar with the matter. The decision could be announced as soon as later Thursday, May 5, 2022, according to one of the people. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing expected to move headquarters from Chicago to DC area

The move would put Boeing executives close to their key customer, the Pentagon, and the FAA.

This 3D rendering shows Sila's 6000-foot facility in Moses Lake, to be used to manufacture lithium-ion anode battery materials. (Business Wire)
New factory in Moses Lake will bring hundreds of new jobs

The plant will manufacture lithium-ion anode battery materials for cars and cellphones.

Dr. David Kirtley at the new Helion headquarters, Antares, in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022  (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Helion Energy: New Everett company has the sun in its eyes

The firm is the winner of a new award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County, called Opportunity Lives Here.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jon Nehring: Longtime Marysville mayor who’s nurtured growth

He’s helped steer the city’s transformation and is winner of the Jackson Award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County.