It’s official: The future of Boeing’s 737 MAX will take shape in Renton.
The Boeing Company announced late this morning that it intends to build the new 737 MAX in Renton. The announcement hinges on the pending approval of an early contract extension with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM), which represents hourly employees in Washington, Oregon and Kansas.
Renton Mayor Law released this statement about today’s announcement:
"The City of Renton is thrilled that The Boeing Company and the Machinists union have reached a landmark agreement to ensure that the 737MAX is built in Renton. Renton has been proud to be the home of The Boeing Company for 70 years and to support aviation innovation and excellence,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law in a statement.
The City of Renton is demonstrating on a daily basis our commitment to meeting Boeing's needs and stand ready to accommodate any new requirements that today's decision will bring about. Last year we signed a long-term lease agreement with Boeing for its use of Renton Municipal Airport. We continue our efforts to ensure a seamless and speedy permitting process for the capital improvements to the Renton Plant to meet the company's production needs.
We are very excited with Boeing's decision today. This will ensure that for years to come thousands of workers will remain on the job here in Renton, the best place in the world to produce commercial airplanes."
King County Executive Dow Constantine also congratulated The Boeing Company and the Machinists for working together to reach an agreement and bring production of the 737 MAX to Renton.
In October, Constantine announced the formation of the King County Aerospace Alliance, a grouping of 16 members working to bring production of the 737 MAX to King County, including: King County; Seattle Port Commission; Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; the Kent Chamber of Commerce; Renton Chamber of Commerce; enterpriseSeattle; Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County; M.L. King County Labor Council; AFL-CIO; Aerospace Machinists District Lodge 751; Renton Technical College; Shoreline Community College; and the cities of Renton, Auburn, Tukwila and Bellevue.
“This great news is a big step – but only one step – in securing our aerospace future,” he said. “We’ve laid a strong foundation with creation of the King County Aerospace Alliance and the statewide Pegasus Project to build the transportation, education, and other infrastructure to keep Boeing and the more than 400 local aerospace suppliers as the leaders in an increasingly competitive global industry.”
The County’s work isn’t over, said Constantine.
“Our job now is to continue to make King County the best place it can be to build airplanes, and the parts that go into airplanes. As the statewide study reveals, we need to be concerned with competition not just from Texas, South Carolina, and other states, but from emerging commercial airplane builders in Canada, Japan, South Korea and other nations."
The 737 MAX, designed as the super-efficient new generation of Boeing's most successful commercial aircraft ever, is expected to enter service in 2017, according to Boeing.