My story in this morning’s paper cites “two sources close to Boeing” who revealed that an internal company analysis has identified its top three alternative manufacturing sites as Long Beach, Calif.; Salt Lake City; and Huntsville, Ala. As I noted in the story, that leak was “a clear effort to sway union members on the eve of the vote.”
Just how practical are those alternatives?
LONG BEACH: Gov. Jerry Brown of California has worked some magic with the state’s budget, but he hasn’t yet transformed the business climate, which in 2003 is what ruled out the state as the site for final assembly of the 787 Dreamliner. Permitting and regulations are not business friendly.
Boeing doesn’t like the potential water quality “fish consumption” rule in Washington state. You think dealing with California on environmental regulation will be simpler?
SALT LAKE CITY: Today, Boeing transports the 777’s huge fuselage panels by sea from Japan to Everett. Salt Lake City is land-locked. Maybe Boeing can figure out that logistics nightmare. But it will be expensive.
HUNTSVILLE: This city builds rockets but it doesn’t build airplanes or airplane parts. There is a space-oriented skilled workforce that knows composites, but it’s not large.
Hunstville is also inland. The ideal transportation hub for airplane manufacturing in Alabama is already taken: that would be the Airbus A320 site in Mobile, on the coast.
I have to wonder how deep that Boeing internal analysis was.