The new delivery center building has three gates and enough interior space to accommodate three simultaneous aircraft deliveries. The 737-900ER shown parked at the gate was delivered to United Airlines on Oct. 19.

The new delivery center building has three gates and enough interior space to accommodate three simultaneous aircraft deliveries. The 737-900ER shown parked at the gate was delivered to United Airlines on Oct. 19.

Boeing opened its new Seattle delivery center for its booming 737 program on October 19 at King County International Airport, a.k.a. Boeing Field.

The 90,000 sq. ft. building is more than twice the size of the previous facility, which was located on the same site. It took 15 months to demolish the old structure, build the new one, and renovate some of the adjoining office spaces. According to Boeing officials, the new facility was needed to better accommodate the ever-increasing production rates for their 737 line. The current production rate for 737s is 42 per month, and planned rate increases will take that number to 52 per month in 2018.

The main departure lounge at the new delivery center offers good views of the flight line.

The main departure lounge at the new delivery center offers good views of the flight line.

I recently had the opportunity, on behalf of AirlineReporter, to check out the new facility and I was excited to see what an airline’s representatives experience when picking up their $85 million jet.

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Representatives from Boeing, local government, and a student representative from the nearby Raisbeck Aviation High School cut the ribbon to officially open the facility.

While the media and invited guests were touring the facility or enjoying the elaborate buffet, two Boeing staffers wove through the crowd, pushing a large wheeled office cart filled with paperwork destined to be loaded aboard the new plane as part of the delivery process. There are plenty of papers that need to be signed by both Boeing and the purchasing airline, and some signings are quite ceremonious, while others are more businesslike, depending on the preferences of the airline.

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The flight line at the 737 delivery center is filled with aircraft destined for airlines from around the globe.

For me, the highlight of the tour was being invited to walk out onto the flight line and see liveries both common, and delightfully unfamiliar. The dozen or so 737s lined up on the day of the opening included liveries from a variety of Asian airlines (Shandong, Air China, China Southern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Jin Air, and Kunming Airlines) Europe’s Ryanair, Panama’s Copa Airlines, and some familiar domestic airlines (Alaska and United).

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Even new aircraft owners will need to pass through this TSA-approved security checkpoint before boarding their planes.

Security is security, even if you’re buying a plane. A standard-issue TSA screening station is located outside of the lounge at the top of the boarding ramp, and everyone boarding a plane is screened prior to departure. That said, I have a feeling that the people working this security might be a bit nicer than those at your local airport. They also don’t have to deal with thousands of crabby passengers everyday.

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The shiny new reception area at Boeing’s Seattle delivery center.

In the end, the facility surely will provide airlines a better experience when picking up their new airplane. Heck, it also provides the media a better experience when covering events involving the 737.

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A variety of 737 models were awaiting delivery. The liveries above include Shandong Airlines, Air China, Copa Airlines, Jin Air, and Ryanair.

EDITOR-AT-LARGE - SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

http://www.zeraphoto.com
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7 Comments
Lew Tripp

Great pics, well done my friend

Awesome article. Boeing a awesome plane made for awesome people.

Yup! Mr. Zera nailed it. For large carriers delivery of yet another 737 is mostly a routine event; those expanded back office simply count the mega money and sign the papers. For a smaller carrier, taking delivery of a New Airplane, perhaps their first, is a Big Deal! With THREE gates, it looks like Boeing has nailed it, well. There is room for celebratory catering when warranted, comfortable waiting space for crews and the (usually) few pax riding the delivery flight and I’d guess that no one is seriously worried about connection times or the infamous Boarding Pass.
Yes, a security inspection is required. A noted in the text, I’m certain that it meets TSA’s [fill in favorite ugly word] standards and without annoying the crew and passengers. [If TSA sent a few training supervisors to Boeing Field for some additional training in the ‘Nice, Polite’ arts, our world would be better.] That is One Heck of a great facility. The Big Airplane delivery facility a few miles north is equally as good, last time I visited,, it could process only two airplanes per day, plenty…
(With a smirk and a little snark I wonder… When the KC-46s begin routine delivery in 2017 as we hope, will their be balloons, streamers and good catering? A few flares or Roman Candles would also be fun, but please… not the hot ones used to deter IR tracking weapons.
Good job Boeing and Mr. Zera as well. -C.

Cook, You mentioned a few pax riding the delivery flight. Those pax, are they invited guests or the management of the airways who ordered the plane, in short who is this pax. I am just curious from there my question. Can I as a outsider participate in this delivery as a pax member?

Hey Henri,

Most delivery flights are just the pilots, taking the plane to join the fleet. Some will have some employees join in on the flight and others, the make a bigger deal and have media.

I haven’t known any delivery flights (or they are very, very rare) where anyone from the general public is able to join in. Many folks will find a good spotting location and take photos of the take off — sometimes the pilots with wag the plane, which is always fun!

David | AirlineReporter

David, a neighbor is a former 737 check pilot and instructor for AAL (now he’s flying 777s) here in Fort Worth; on at least one occasion, he took his wife along while picking up a 737NG. He even showed me a pic of her in the cockpit (I guess to make me jealous)! I’m betting he’s not the only one, either; guess it really does pay to have a spouse on the flight deck!

Mike Harbour
FlightJournal.com

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