Boeing’s in a hiring mode

  • By Bryan Corliss / Herald Columnist
  • Tuesday, August 10, 2004 9:00pm
  • Local News

In case you missed it, the Boeing Co. plans a big hiring event on Thursday in SeaTac.

Boeing announced in July that it plans to hire up to 3,000 people for job openings in the Puget Sound region. Most of the openings are for engineering and technical positions.

Boeing received so many responses to its initial call for applications that it filled up all of Thursday’s interview slots and set up more for Friday, company spokeswoman Barbara Murphy said. “There’s been such a deluge, such an outpouring of interest.”

If you missed the July 28 deadline to sign up for an interview, you still can walk in to the event 1-5 p.m. Thursday at the Hilton Seattle Airport Conference Center, 17620 Pacific Highway S.

The 3,000 Puget Sound-area openings are among 11,000 Boeing hopes to fill nationwide in the coming months. The company plans a similar hiring fair today in Virginia, and another one next week in St. Louis. Details are available at www.boeing.com/careers.

On a related note, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace marked a milestone in July. It was the first month since fall 2001 that none of its members received a layoff notice from Boeing.

* Elsewhere, ATA Airlines is seriously considering ordering Boeing 717s in 2005.

Aviation Week reported recently that the Indianapolis-based carrier had come to terms with the Airline Pilots Association on a new pay scale for pilots of 110-seat jets – either 717s or Embraer 190s.

Pilot pay is one of the issues that hamstrings the 717 and other planes with just over 100 seats. Typically, airlines have two pay scales for pilots – one for those who fly big jets and one for those who fly small ones – and 100 seats has traditionally been the cutoff point.

Airlines may end up paying considerably higher crew costs for a 110-seat jet than for a 95-seater, so most opt for the smaller plane.

ATA started out as a charter carrier and has a fleet dominated by 200-seat 757-200s and 247-seat 757-300s, which it flies from the Midwest to vacation spots in Hawaii and the Caribbean. It also is adding smaller 737-800s, but there’s a big gap in its fleet between those 175-seat planes and its 34-seat Saab 340Bs, which it uses on commuter flights in and out of Chicago.

Any kind of 717 order would breathe new life into the Long Beach, Calif.-based program. As of June, Boeing had unfilled orders for 36 of the slow-selling planes, enough for three year’s of construction at current rates of one plane a month.

* Finally, Boeing will hold a wake of sorts in Wichita, Kan., today to mark the completion of the last 757 fuselage.

Boeing will deliver the last 757 – the 1,050th – to Shanghai Airlines this fall, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Fuselages were manufactured in Wichita then shipped to Renton, where the planes were assembled.

Boeing launched the program in 1979. The fuel-efficient 757 proved popular with North American airlines, which flew it coast-to-coast. European charter airlines also liked it for its ability to cheaply ferry northern Europeans to sunny winter destinations.

But the U.S. airlines were hit hard by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and quit buying the plane. At the same time, international demand tapered off as Boeing began development of the 7E7, which will replace the 757 in many fleets.

Reporter Bryan Corliss: 425-339-3454 or corliss@heraldnet.com.

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