Ten years ago, a group of Oklahoma officials made a pitch to Boeing Co. to pick the state for the location of a new factory for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
That effort came up short, but economic development officials are staying mum on whether Oklahoma has again jumped into the bidding for Boeing's latest commercial plane, the 777X.
Following a dispute with its unions in Washington, the aerospace company announced it would seek bids for other sites for assembly of the plane. Without identifying them, Chicago-based Boeing said it sent out requests for proposal to more than a dozen states.
“The intent of the process is to determine the location or locations for parts fabrication, fuselage build, join, assembly, paint and delivery of the 777X airplane,” Boeing spokesman Doug Alder Jr. said in an email. “This decision will also encompass the location for the fabrication and assembly of the new composite wing for the airplane. We will determine if this work is done at one location, or at different sites.”
Alder said bids are due by mid-December. A final decision on the site selection is due in early 2014. Boeing said last month it had received 259 launch orders worth $95 billion for the 777X, an updated version of the twin-engine jetliner. Production is expected to begin in 2017, with the first delivery of the 777X by 2020.
Boeing already has a significant presence in Oklahoma, with 1,750 employees mostly on the military contracting side in the Oklahoma City area. The company recently added 550 jobs after relocating some work on the B-1 and C-130 planes from other states.
Spirit AeroSystems, a former unit of Boeing until it was sold off in 2005, manufactures the leading edge parts for the 787 Dreamliner's wings at factories in Tulsa and McAlester.
Citing confidentiality provisions, Oklahoma Department of Commerce officials declined Monday to comment on whether the state planned to submit a bid for the 777X site selection competition.