Boeing’s jumbo plane kingdom

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June 14, 2022
Boeing factory
Boeing's Everett production facility

Boeing’s Everett factory is the world’s largest building and has produced more wide-body planes – over 4,600 – than all other competing manufacturers combined.

And the numbers are stunning and cannot fail to impress.

The Everett, Washington facility, is the workplace for 30,000, produces 25,000 meals a day from 20 cafeterias and its area is bigger than Disneyland.

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In many ways, it is a magic kingdom. Here the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, has produced over 4,600 widebody planes – the 747 Jumbo, 767, 777 and 787 — since 1968.

Qantas 747 over Boeing's factory
Qantas’s first Boeing 747 flies over Boeing’s Everett factory in September 1971. Credit Boeing Historical Archives

And there are another 1,200 wide-body planes on order.

Boeing’s Everett production building is over 1km long and ½ km wide and you could fit 911 basketball courts inside.

The massive production facility has six doors, each a canvas for depicting the company’s planes.

Boeing factory doors
The factory doors on Boeing’s facility are a canvas for depicting the planes that are built there.

And what a canvas — each door is the size of an American football field.

But the factory itself is just part of a massive industrial complex that includes three huge paint hangars, sprawling flight lines, a plane delivery center that is as big as an airport terminal, office blocks and a new 777X wing assembly plant.

The whole facility covers an area of 415 hectares.

Built in 1968, the plant doubled in size to accommodate production of the 767 in the late 1970s and was expanded again by 50 percent in 1993 to build the 777.

Recently a huge wing plant was constructed behind the main facility to build the composite wings for the 777X.

Boeing's 777s
Boeing’s 777 production line

It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington State. Boeing started tours of the factory when it was building the first 747 and since then more than 3.5 million people have seen the facility.

The factory has 26 overhead cranes that cruise on 72 kilometers of networked tracks and these cranes make 45,000 lifts a month to support the building of about 20 planes a month.

Boeing's 787 production line
Boeing 787s are now produced at a rate of 7 a month at Everett and 5 a month at the company’s Charleston plant.

Painting the planes is also a feat. It takes up to seven days to paint a plane and a 747 requires 454 liters while a 787 a little less at about 370 liters.

The plant is now building the company’s newest plane, the Boeing 777X, which is a total revamp of the popular 777.