Boeing plans to establish a fourth 737 Max production line in Everett, Washington, at the former 787 Dreamliner assembly hall, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal told employees in an internal memo Monday. Expected to begin running in the second half of 2024, the line will occupy the 40-26 Production Integration Center, where 787 assembly took place before Boeing moved all Dreamliner final assembly to Charleston, South Carolina. The company plans to shift work on stored 787s to other available Everett high bay space.
Deal said most of the workers at the current 737 assembly site in Renton, Washington, where Boeing now runs two out of three lines it operated before pausing production in 2019, will remain there as it reactivates the third line to accommodate rate increases beyond 31 per month. A small group, along with some Everett workers and some new hires, will help open the fourth line, known as the North Line, he added.
“To be clear, we are not taking the 737 out of Renton—just adding capacity to capture customer demand, especially for the newer models like the -8200 and 737-10,” wrote Deal. “Given the proximity to Renton, Everett is a great fit with the availability of highly skilled workers and factory space.”
The announcement comes as welcome news to the Everett factory, which has seen a lull in activity ever since Boeing consolidated all 787 production in South Carolina and 777-300ER assembly tapered off in advance of expected acceleration of 777X work. Now not expected to gain certification until 2025, the 777X has suffered repeated delays, leading to a complete pause in production through the end of this year.
Along with readying the facility, Boeing has begun the process of notifying and preparing suppliers, customers, unions, and employees for the new line.
“We are methodically working through all of our checks and balances, keeping safety and quality top of mind,” noted Deal. “We greatly appreciate the support of the Washington delegation in Congress, especially Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Smith and Larsen, who represent our Renton and Everett sites respectively, as well as our government leaders here in the state. This announcement underscores our commitment to the state and to Washington workers, and we also thank the IAM for working closely with us to support safe certification of the Max 7 and Max 10.