Boeing officially opened its new delivery center in Seattle on Monday, showing off the facility where airlines will go to pick up their shiny new Boeing 737 airplanes.
Think of it like a car dealership for commercial airplanes, ranging in price from about $70 million to $115 million. The planes are sold by the time they roll off the assembly line in nearby Renton, Wash. They go through some initial testing and then come to the new center at Boeing Field for customers to jump in and fly home.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was in attendance on Monday, talking briefly about how the opening of this facility demonstrates Boeing’s continued commitment to region.
While software giants like Microsoft get the bulk of the attention around Seattle’s tech scene, aerospace continues to be a major player in the industry and a big reason a lot of engineers come to the area.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also happened to be in Seattle today to talk about his city’s own tech industry, but Murray pointed out that mayor won’t have any events like this to attend back home.
“We have something Boston doesn’t have, which is the best aviation in the world and the best aviation workers in the world,” Murray said. “It is one of our region’s major job creators. It is a job creator and an innovator that goes back a very long ways.”
The delivery center is a three-story building largely made up of office space and conference rooms to meet with airlines buying new planes.
Sometimes there’s a ceremonial handing over of the proverbial keys, but other times the delivery center is just a place to sign paperwork and get on the runway.
Boeing is about to ramp up its 737 production, from 42 planes per month to 52. So it needed a bigger, more modern delivery center to handle the increased business.
“Customers who have committed to the airplane and entrusted business to us deserve a delivery center that is second to none,” Boeing vice president Patrick Shanahan. “We are proud to officially open the doors to them today.”
The new facility sits next door to the old one, right beside the Boeing Field airport south of downtown Seattle.
The 737 is one of the smaller aircrafts Boeing builds, but the company says it’s the most widely used commercial airplane around the world.
And every one will now begin its journey here.
The planes delivered from this facility over the next year will carry a combined 3 billion passengers and fly the equivalent of 77 roundtrips to the sun before they retire, the company said at the grand opening event.