Boeing breaks ground in St. Louis for new Composites Center; 700 new jobs expected

Facility to support 777X work and future opportunities (From Boeing corporate communications)

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 16, 2014– Boeing [NYSE: BA] today began construction here of a new 367,000-square-foot facility in which it will build parts for the newest member of its 777 commercial airplanes family, the 777X.

About 700 new jobs will be created for the 777X work. Construction should be complete in 2016, with work on 777X wing and empennage parts starting in 2017. The facility is an expansion of Boeing’s current tooling center at the site and will contain six autoclaves.

“As we move forward with construction of our new center, we will significantly enhance our aerospace composite capability in St. Louis, positioning us for today’s opportunities, and tomorrow’s,” said Bob Ciesla, vice president, Boeing Military Aircraft Cross-Enterprise Design/Build. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Boeing St. Louis and the entire region, which enables us to bridge to the future as a site with both commercial and defense capabilities.”

Boeing’s St. Louis site, which marked its 75th anniversary this year, is renowned for military aircraft production. More than 12,000 fighter jets have been built there and the site is headquarters for the Boeing Defense, Space & Security business unit. As of Dec.1, the company had about 15,000 employees in Missouri.

“Associated Industries of Missouri is a proud supporter of this project that represents the first time the St. Louis manufacturing facility will contribute to a commercial Boeing product,” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri, who was on site for the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is big news, not just for the state’s largest manufacturer, but for the many suppliers across Missouri that will participate in this project,” said McCarty.

Earlier this year, Boeing selected its Everett, Wash. site as the location for a new composite wing center for the 777X program. In this wing center, Boeing will perform fabrication and assembly of the 777X’s composite wing. Additionally, Boeing will perform final assembly of the 777X in Everett.  The Missouri location will manufacture some key component parts for the wing.

There will be two 777X models – the 777-8X, with approximately 350 seats and a range capability of more than 9,300 nautical miles; and the 777-9X, with approximately 400 seats and a range of more than 8,200 nautical miles. The 777X has 300 orders and commitments from six customers worldwide. First delivery is targeted for 2020.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $33 billion business with 56,000 employees worldwide.