EVERETT, Wash. - It was feared losing Boeing's new 777X to another state could spell the beginning of the end of the Aerospace giant's hometown presence in Western Washington.
Now, we can show you some of the first test pieces to the plane's new massive composite wings built in a new billion dollar factory in Everett.
Nearly a quarter mile long, the massive plant is mostly out of view when seen from the highway. Out of view only because it is blocked by the world's largest building, Boeing's giant factory that assembles the current model 777, the 747 Jumbo jet, 767 and the 787 Dreamliner.
The year 2013 was a period of anxiety for the region, as Boeing opened bidding to other states to build the 777X, the higher tech follow-up to the company's highly successful and mostly aluminum 777 that first went into service in 1995.
In the end, the 777 program and the giant factory to build the 777X wings out of strong carbon fiber and resin composite stayed in Washington state, an investment expected to last for 50 years, said former Boeing commercial airplanes CEO Ray Conner.
That win came after two hard fought battles. One in the legislature to extend $8.7 billion in tax breaks for commercial airplane manufacturing in Washington, which dwarfed any competing bids from other states. And it came after the second of two bitterly fought votes by members of the Machinists Union to agree to a long-term contract that included changes to their retirement plan.
Thursday night on KING 5 News at 6:30 p.m. in the first of two stories, KING 5's Aviation Specialist Glenn Farley takes you inside Boeing's billion dollar investment to build the wings for the 777X.