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29 Sep 2015 - 737 Completion Plant to open in China.

Boeing will open its first foreign completion and delivery centre in China to broaden collaboration with supplier and potential rival AVIC.

The initiatives were announced as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit on 23 September to Boeing’s widebody assembly complex in Everett, Washington.

The new facility in China will be operated jointly by Boeing and Comac, the maker of the C919 narrowbody. Workers there will install interiors, paint liveries and deliver 737 aircraft to Chinese customers.

The completion and delivery centre stops short of opening a fourth final assembly line for the 737, in addition to three active lines in Renton, Washington. But the commitment to open the facility at a location and time to be announced later should “enhance” Boeing’s access to the fast-growing Chinese aviation market, company officials say.

But Boeing executives say the new Chinese facility will enable an increase in production rates for the 737, creating more demand for labour on the only three final assembly lines in Renton. Boeing is already raising 737 monthly deliveries from 42 to 52 by 2018.

China has become Boeing’s largest commercial customer, taking delivery of 155 aircraft already this year. China Aviation Supplies Holding, meanwhile, announced on 23 September a commitment to purchase up to 300 aircraft, including 190 737s. Another 60 737s will be purchased for leasing companies ICBC and CDB Leasing.

"The 737 will be a cornerstone of the Chinese fleet for years to come, and we look forward to delivering 737s to Chinese customers in China,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner.

At the same time, Boeing also pledged to expand its industrial partnership with AVIC. Chinese suppliers already hold major positions in Boeing’s supply chain, building horizontal stabilisers, vertical fins and wing panels for the 737.

A new framework agreement commits the partners to add major component assembly work for Boeing commercial aircraft by AVIC.

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*** Updated 17 Jan 2017 ***

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