Most of the engineering work for the new 777 will be done outside of Puget Sound.
Boeing said no decision about which engineering work, if any, will be performed in Washington, but the company released this letter announcing decisions on other locations that will get the work:
Today we are announcing engineering workforce plans for the 777X program. As you know, Commercial Airplanes recently established multiple engineering design centers as part of a long-term strategic vision that will enable and support Boeing’s overarching growth and competitive strategy. Commercial Airplanes will utilize these engineering design centers, as well as engineers from other Boeing sites, to design the 777X.
It has been decided that much of the detailed design will be carried out by Boeing engineering teams in Charleston, Huntsville, Long Beach, Philadelphia and St. Louis. The Boeing Design Center in Moscow will also support the design activity. However, at this time, no decisions have been made about 777X design or build in Puget Sound.
Our goal is to leverage skills from across the Boeing enterprise. A program of this size requires that we bring together all of the talent that Boeing has to offer. In addition, we are leveraging lessons learned on 787 and 747-8 to ensure continuity across the 777X program to accomplish the key design work. The announced structure will allow for an efficient use of resources and enable Boeing to resolve design issues effectively the first time.
Thank you for your continued hard work to ensure we deliver ground-breaking value for our customers.
Ray Goforth, executive director of Boeing’s engineering union SPEEA, released this statement in response:
Puget Sound is Boeing’s center of experience in commercial aircraft design. As engineering tasks are shared with other talented engineering groups, we fully expect Puget Sound to play the key integrating role needed to avoid a replication of the problems experienced by the 787 program.
The move does not come as a surprise to many because Boeing has been shipping Puget Sound engineering jobs to new hubs around the world.
The big prize is where the 777X will be built. No decision has been made on that. Many analysts believe it’s a 50-50 shot that the plane will be made outside of Washington state.