Boeing May Open 737 Center in China

B737-Max 8

Source: China Aviation Week

Boeing is expected to announce plans later this month to establish a completion and delivery center for the Boeing 737 in China.

The ambitious move, if confirmed, is expected to be revealed when the President of China Xi Jinping passes through Seattle on Sept. 23 during his first state visit to the United States. The new center will represent Boeing’s biggest single overseas commercial aircraft work venture, and the closest the company has come to opening a foreign-based production line.

Boeing, which declines to “comment on speculation,” is thought to have been in talks with China over the move for several years. The facility will likely take unfinished aircraft straight off the Renton assembly line and, it is believed, will complete painting, flight testing, delivery certification and customer acceptance. Interior installation, including sidewalls, galleys, seats and cabin features, are currently completed for all current 737 Next Generation aircraft on the moving line at Renton, and it is not known if this will continue for all MAX models or be split in some cases with the new site.

At present aircraft are rolled off the line and spend several days at Renton where avionics are installed, engines run and fuel systems tested. The new aircraft then make their “B 1” Boeing production acceptance test flight. The China site is expected to take ‘green’ airframes off the Renton line after the B1 flight and complete exterior painting, a process that currently takes up to three days at facilities located at either Renton or nearby Boeing Field, Seattle. It will also oversee flight testing and customer delivery, a process that can take between three and six weeks, depending on specific customer specifications.

From a business perspective the opening of the center will build on Boeing’s already close and extensive existing relationship with China which currently makes the horizontal stabilizers, vertical fins, aft tail section, doors, wing panels and other components of the present 737 model. Chinese manufacturers also supply parts for the 747-8, as well as the rudder, fairings, leading edge vertical fin panels and other composite parts for the 787. In addition, Xiamen, China, is the first conversion location for the 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter program.


Tags: Boeing, Aerospace & Defense, China Aviation Week, China Aerospace Market