Major Boeing customers say the jet maker has tapped the brakes on its plan to develop a new version of its star widebody jet, the 777, a plane that Washington state's aerospace industry dearly wants to see built here.

The slowdown in the schedule for the so-called 777X has raised suspicion within the industry that despite a competitive threat from rival Airbus, Boeing's management in Chicago is unwilling to commit the money because of the risk attached to doing several major new jet programs at once.

Boeing's stance seemed to have changed even before the sudden departure of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Jim Albaugh right before the Farnborough Air Show last month.

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