After weeks of what seemed like ongoing bad news for Boeing, the company finished out 2016 with a huge order for one of its most successful planes.
The order will keep Boeing workers in Renton busy for “years to come,” according to Doug Alder with Boeing.
“This is a big order to end 2016 for Boeing,” Alder said. “It involves 75 of our brand new 737 MAX airplanes.”
GE Capital Aviation Services is the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of General Electric. As of December 2016, an order for 75 of the 737 MAX 8 airplanes has been placed. It’s a deal worth $8.25 billion.
“They are in the business of buying airplanes and they will take those airplanes and lease them out to airlines across the world,” Alder said.
“With this order, they actually become the largest aircraft leasing company to have the MAX on order,” he added. “They continue to grow their MAX fleet and are the largest owner of a MAX fleet in the world. They have a total of 170 on order.”
The 737 MAX is the fasted-selling airplane in the aerospace company’s history. The company has taken 3,419 orders for the model.
“Our narrowbody single-aisle products like the 737 and the 737 MAX, we see robust demand for that,” Alder said. “So Renton is going to stay busy for a long time.”
The bad and good news for Boeing
While the news is good for Boeing’s Renton operations, Alder said it won’t affect manufacturing at the company’s Everett site.
Boeing announced late in 2016 that it was lowering production and staffing levels in Everett in response to lower-than-expected demand for its 777 jets. The company had planned to deliver seven of the 777 model per month, but it didn’t receive enough orders for the jets and therefore cut back.
The news came shortly before the company also decided to halt its staggered scheduling for 787 workers in Everett. The start times were costing too much money, and the change is hoped to increase efficiency. A concern, however, is that local traffic could be negatively affected. Other departments in Everett could also see a scheduling change.
This all came amid negative tweets about the company posted by President-elect Donald Trump. Trump claimed the aerospace company’s prices for new Air Force One planes was too steep, and that he would reject any deal. He also bad mouthed a potential deal for next generation fighter jets. This prompted a meeting with Boeing’s CEO to smooth things over. It seemed to have worked, according to Boeing.
The next day, Trump made a more favorable tweet about Boeing.