Gov. Jay Inslee today kicked off a statewide effort to have the Boeing 777X built in Washington, which he said would protect and grow thousands of aerospace jobs for another generation. The governor, who appeared at the Future of Flight Aviation Center to make his announcement, was surrounded by legislators, state and local government officials, industry leaders from business and labor, and educators from across the state.
“We will show that we know how to create the economic climate that makes Washington the best place to build the best airplanes and preserve thousands of family-wage jobs for generations to come,” Inslee said.
Inslee also unveiled the state’s Aerospace Industry Strategy, a plan whose paramount goal is to secure for Washington the design and final assembly of the 777X, Boeing’s anticipated new airplane derivative.
“This strategy was built with input of stakeholders from across the state, and outlines how we can do even more to create jobs in this vital sector of Washington’s economy,” Inslee said. “Our strategy is broad and comprehensive, and it’s necessary regardless of the next Boeing program. Using this as our foundation, over the coming months we will develop significant initiatives to improve our already-strong position to win the 777X.”
The Aerospace Industry Strategy provides a long-term plan to grow the aerospace cluster and prioritizes specific activities for 2013/2014, the most significant of these being winning the 777X, as well as its carbon fiber wings.
“The 777X is hugely important to the Washington aerospace industry as whole,” said Bob Drewel, president of the Washington Aerospace Partnership, which will work with the governor to implement the strategy. “Not only is this about maintaining the jobs of thousands of people who are already working on the 777 program in Everett and in the supply chain spread out across the state, it’s also about designing and assembling the next generation of Boeing’s twin-aisle, twin-engine workhorse in Washington, which will mean that our engineers and machinists will be on the cutting edge of the commercial aviation industry for many decades.”
To win the 777X, stakeholders will take the following actions over the coming months to demonstrate that Washington is the best and only place in the world to design and build the 777X.
Frame the Opportunity
- Survey industry leaders to identify what Washington state can do to shore up its competitive position.
- Conduct an economic benefit analysis to demonstrate the value of additional investments necessary to win the 777X.
Survey the Competitive Landscape
- Update the competitive analysis that helped Washington secure the 737 MAX to preserve the state’s leadership position as we look to secure the 777X.
Ensure a Healthy Business Climate
- Reduce burdens on industry by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government services.
- Review existing aerospace incentives in the context of the production life of the 777X.
- Explore other drivers of cost and identify actions to reduce their impact.
Ensure Shovel-ready Development
- Streamline the 777X permitting process through creation of an intergovernmental, inter-agency task force chaired by Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.
Make Strategic Infrastructure Investments
- Identify and prioritize needed investments and funding strategies that may be considerations for the 777X siting decision. Areas of focus will include transportation and port infrastructure.
Invest in our World-class Aerospace Workforce
- Identify and close potential skills gaps related to 777X design and production, and develop programs and facilities necessary to enhance our ready and able workforce.
“The city of Everett has been anticipating the 777X for more than a year,” Mayor Stephanson said. “I am grateful for the leadership of Gov. Inslee in moving forward with this plan, and I look forward to working with other local, state and federal agencies to anticipate and proactively address any potential hurdles that Boeing may face in expanding operations at the Everett plant.”
“The Legislature has the opportunity to make a significant down payment in many of these areas in the upcoming special session,” Inslee said. “Transportation is a significant driver of costs. By funding additional highway, bridge and transit projects, we will improve the movement of employees and parts to and from Boeing’s manufacturing sites and the supply chain all over the state. Additionally, I have proposed significant investments in STEM education and aerospace workforce training that are already on the table for the Legislature’s consideration. We must make these investments now.”