Boeing (BA) opened its first commercial airplane factory in St. Louis on Thursday, the company said.
The new $300 million “composite center” is an effort by the aircraft and parts manufacturer to expand its St. Louis operations. As a result, the company said it expects to bring in about 700 new jobs to St. Louis in production, engineering and other areas by the early 2020s. The facility is 424,000 square feet, and is expected to initially create parts for its newest jetliner, the 777x.
“Boeing has had a presence in St. Louis for nearly 80 years. We’ve built more than 12,000 fighter jets here,” said Boeing Vice President and Program Manager for the St. Louis work on the 777x Bob Ciesla. “With the opening of this new composite center, our well-trained, high-quality workforce is able to demonstrate its versatility and expertise, positioning our region for additional commercial and defense work in the future.”
The factory is expected to begin production on 777x wing edges and other parts in early 2017, with the first 777x being delivered in 2020. Shares for Boeing were last trading up 0.3% late in Thursday’s trading hours.