When you are an airline customer that drops a few hundred million on some new Boeing aircraft, sometimes you just want your pilots to pick up the plane and go. Other times you might want a celebration. Either way, it should always be exciting every time that Boeing hands over the keys to a customer.
Previously, if an airline just wanted to pick up their plane with little fanfare, they would just pick it up at the Everett Delivery Center (EDC), located on the east side of Paine Field in Everett, WA. If the airline wanted some attention, they would take delivery of their plane at the the Future of Flight across the runway (see Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 777-300ER delivery). There was not much in between.
Yesterday, Boeing broke ground on a new delivery center, which will make the picking up experience better for customers picking up their brand spanking new Boeing 747, 767, 777 or 787.
The current facility was built in the late 1960s and then renovated in 2006. The new facility, which will be 180,000 sq ft (vs 60,000 of the old one), is expected to open in early 2013.
“Our customers are demanding our products like never before,” said Jeff Klemann, vice president of the delivery center. “As we build more airplanes at faster and faster rates, we also need a world-class facility to conduct our delivery operations. The new Everett Delivery Center will be more than just a building; it’s an investment in our customers, our local community, our employees and Boeing’s future.”
When asked if the Future of Flight will still play a role in future deliveries, Elizabeth Fischtziur with Boeing Everett Site Communications explained to AirlineReporter.com, “We will continue to work with our airline customers to custom design delivery ceremonies to meet their needs. While the majority of ceremonies will take place at the EDC in our new delivery lounge, it is possible that we will continue to use the Future of Flight from time to time.”
Boeing explained that while the new site is being built, “interim delivery plans are in place,” including the possibility of delivering on the flight line.
Have no fear! I would expect large deliveries, like Lufthansa’s first 747-8 Intercontinental and United’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner will most likely have ceremonies at the Future of Flight with great fanfare.
Photos of the ground breaking event yesterday from the Seattle PI.