According to reports, American multinational delivery services company FedEx is close to finalizing a deal that will see it take over Boeing’s former Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. If it comes to fruition, this deal quashes any hope that Dreamliner production currently done in Charlestown, South Carolina, might one day return to Everett. It would also herald a massive uptick in air traffic at Paine Feild, with FedEx cargo flights joining passenger flights operated by Alaska Airlines and United.
The Dreamlifter is a specially modified Boeing 747. Photo: Boeing
Despite moving Dreamliner operations and maintenance to Charleston three years ago, Boeing still used its facility at Paine Field to assemble big sections of the 787 manufactured in Italy, Japan, and Wichita, Kansas. Wings for the 787 are made in Japan, the horizontal tail in Italy, the aft and center fuselage sections in Charleston, and the forward fuselage in Wichita.
Neither FedEx or Boeing would comment on the deal. What is known, though, is that Boeing was looking to cut costs. During a statement released last year, Boeing CFO Greg Smith said the following:
“Boeing is reviewing every piece of real estate, every building, every lease, every warehouse, every site, with a goal of shrinking the company’s total real estate by 30%.”
Snohomish County owns Paine Field Airport (PAE) and leases the Dreamlifter Operations Center building to Boeing. When speaking about the negotiations between Boeing and FedEx over the lease in an email, Snohomish County spokesperson Kent Patton said:
“Paine Field has not been presented with an alternative lease.”
The deal will be finalized by the summer
FedEx currently flies to SEA. Photo: Getty Images
Despite the closure of facilities in Washington state, Boeing insists that they are not moving away, telling the Seattle Times:
“Boeing is committed to the Puget Sound region. We have a larger workforce and operational footprint here than anywhere else in the world, and we have spent billions of dollars investing in long-term infrastructure.”
Will FedEx flights bring more noise?
When Paine Field opened up to passenger air traffic in 2018, it was hugely convenient for residents living to the north of Seattle but was opposed by some residents of Edmonds and Mukilteo. They were worried that the extra flights would add to the jet noise, but failed in court to stop the flights from happening.
FedEx already flies to the Seattle area operating an average of seven flights per day in and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). To lessen jet noise and not upset residents Tac spokesperson Perry Copper says that FedEx operates its flights in two slots between 05:00 and 09:00 and between 18:00 and 21:00.
“One or two might be late here and there, but they are not scheduled beyond those times,” he said.
FedEx moving to Paine Field may create local jobs. Photo: Getty Images
If FedEx is taking over Boeing’s Dreamlifter Operations Center, you can be sure that it is not just seven flights per day. And while the noise level might increase for locals, the logistic company’s move to Everett could help provide jobs for the local community.
What do you think about FedEx taking over the lease on Boeing’s Dreamlifter Operations Center? Please tell us what you think in the comments.
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