Boeing Makes Billions – Will Utah Benefit?

An Emirates Boeing 777 in flight. Emirates purchased 150 Boeing 777 planes at the Dubai Air Show this week.

An Emirates Boeing 777 in flight. Emirates purchased 150 Boeing 777 planes at the Dubai Air Show this week.

(KCPW News) Commercial jet manufacturer Boeing has racked up sales at the Dubai Airshow so far this week, pulling in around $100 billion-worth in new orders from airlines.

The Boeing 777 represents a significant portion of those orders, which could be good news for Utah’s economy.

Boeing officials met with Governor Gary Herbert last week to discuss the possibility of constructing a new production facility in Utah. This new facility would specialize in the production of Boeing 777 jets, scores of which have been ordered in Dubai this week. Many of the planes were purchased by expanding Middle East-based airlines, such as Emirates.

Boeing already has a presence in Utah. The company has a facility in Salt Lake City for manufacture and assembly of parts for the 787-9 Dreamliner. In addition, a plant in West Jordan was purchased this year, also allocated for Dreamliner component production. According to Boeing’s own data, the company employs over 800 Utahns.

Following last week’s meeting, Governor Herbert was enthusiastic about the prospect of Boeing expanding its operations in Utah.

In a statement, the governor said, “I am grateful for the partnership Utah has with Boeing and I appreciate the interest in growing the existing Utah operation. One of the country’s best businesses expanding in one of the country’s best places for business makes a lot of sense for many reasons.”

When reached for comment, a representative from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development shared the governor’s enthusiasm, but said they can’t elaborate further until state officials discuss more specifics with Boeing.

What could be an economic coup for Utah would be a bust for the state of Washington. Boeing tried to reach an agreement with unions at their Seattle-area facilities, but was unable to do so. In lieu of this dispute, Boeing is looking elsewhere to manufacture the 777.

According to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, the company will decide on a site to produce 777 jets in two to three months.