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Seattle Industry is published by the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle

SI eBulletin

Ode to the 737 - Chapter II

Posted: December 21, 2011

Our first ode to the region’s cash cow was rung up in January 2010 to remind readers that Boeing would continue to build jet liners within the shadow of the Space Needle until all our kids are in nursing homes. At that time the reminder was necessary because of the negativity that lingered about the decision to build a 787 production plant in South Carolina.

Flash ahead 24 months to the approaching close of 2011 and it is amazing what a difference two years can make.

Will 2011 be remembered as the year Boeing decided to build the next generation 737 Max in Renton and achieved near-term labor peace? Or, the year the U.S. Air Force contract was finally awarded for the 767 tanker? Or, the year when the first 787 was finally delivered to a customer? Each could have been an aerospace business news story of the year for our region, but in 2011 all three developments transpired in the space of just ten months.

Which brings us to Ode II for the 737. The successor to the legendary 707, the 737 was conceived in 1964, first flown in 1967, and entered commercial service in 1968.

Boeing will have to build about 1,000 787s before the line will turn a profit due to losses incurred in the effort to successfully pull together its tortured supply chain. But the 737 was turning a profit before Don James arrived as UW football coach.

Now into its fifth decade of service, the 737 continues to surpass all other Boeing jetliners for sheer productivity and impact on our local economy.

In recent years, the people who work at the 737 plant in Renton have accounted for nearly 80% of all Boeing commercial airplane production. In 2010, 376 of the 462 Boeing airplanes delivered were 737s. Through November of this year, the 737 accounted for 332 of 426 deliveries.

Last week, Fly-Dubai Airlines took possession of the 7,000th 737 to roll off the Renton production line. The news was accompanied by an interesting factoid from the Boeing PR staff about the shrinking time lines between 1,000 increments for 737 deliveries.

It took 4 years and 8 months to go from 4,000 to 5,000 737 deliveries. It took 3 years and 2 months to go from 5,000 to 6,000. It took just 2 years and 8 months to go from 6,000 to 7,000. With 737 production rates increasing to 42 airplanes a month in 2014, Boeing predicts the gap will continue to close.

The impact of all this on our regional economy is illustrated by numbers from the Washington State Department of Revenue. The numbers come from the gross business revenues that every Washington business must report to the state to calculate its liability for B&O and other taxes.

In the second quarter of 2011, aircraft manufacturing in our state produced gross sales of $9.9 billion. That was up 20% from the same quarter the year before.

To put that into context, it exceeded the $9.4 billion in revenue reported to the state during the same period by all software publishers, bankers, insurance agents, real estate agents, lawyers, accountants and doctor offices. It also exceeded the entire annual gross posted by the National Football League.

We hope 2011 was a better year for everyone than 2010 was.

Both years were way better than they would have been if the good folks in Renton weren’t cranking out so many 737s.

All City Fence Co. - Spotlight Show

Showcasing Commercial Fencing and Security Solutions

At All City fence we find trade shows just a little boring. So we decided to change things up, hosting an event that will introduce you to the latest innovations in fencing and security but, in a fun and different setting. Urban Enoteca in Seattle's SODO District, Seattle's preeminent wine tasting and event space. Wine, hors-d-oeuvres and live entertainment.

Save the date and RSVP with All City Fence Today!

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 3:00pm-8:00pm
Location: Urban Enoteca, 4130 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
Presenting Partners: BetaFence USA, Gates and Controls, Burdick's Security, Grating Pacific
RSVP: All City Fence Co, 206-324-3747,

West Seattle Water Taxi ridership skyrockets: Not just ‘Viadoom’

We were asked recently about West Seattle Water Taxi ridership since the week-plus Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. Found the answer hiding in plain sight on the Water Taxi website. Even after the late-October closure, ridership ran way above last year, according to this month-by-month chart, which reports 9,734 rides last month – close to quadruple the 2,578 rides in November of last year. According to both the King County Ferry District‘s online budget documents and discussions we’ve had with the staff of County Councilmember Joe McDermott (who chairs the Ferry District’s Board, another set of hats the council wears), the 2012 plan for the Water Taxi includes a 50-cent fare increase in the spring as well as ongoing planning for new vessels to take the place of the leased boats that have been in use on the WS and Vashon routes. (Most of the cost of those boats will be borne by grants from the federal government.) One more note: No Water Taxi service on the two upcoming “official holiday” Mondays, December 26 and January 2.

(Reprinted from "West Seattle Blog", Dec 20, 2011)



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