Boeing moving engineering work out of Wash. state

SEATTLE - Boeing is moving some design work for new commercial airplanes to South Carolina and Southern California, the company announced Friday.

The company also announced a "related strategic move" to create a propulsion operation in South Carolina to enhance the performance of future airplanes, beginning with the 737 MAX. And it's looking into creating a design center in Kiev, Ukraine, to support one in Moscow.

"Our opportunity for future growth is unprecedented and this helps us be more competitive by building on our team's talent and capability -- across Boeing, the United States and around the world," Mike Delaney, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Engineering, said in a news release. "With these changes, we are structuring Boeing's engineering operations to support that growth, reduce business risks and to consistently provide the products and services our customers expect."

Boeing said the only impact on jobs in the Puget Sound region would be 300 positions moving to Southern California.

The new propulsion operation in South Carolina is part of "a thoughtful, disciplined approach to building our capability and capacity in integrated propulsion system design," Nicole Piasecki, vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Propulsion Systems Division, said in the release. "The Propulsion South Carolina team will begin with the design and assembly of the 737 MAX engine nacelle inlet and expand strategically on future airplane programs."

A supplier does this work on current 737 models, Boeing noted.

The new Southern California engineering design center will be home to engineering support for out-of-production airplanes. Long Beach, Calif., already supports heritage McDonnell Douglas airplanes.

Over the next six to nine months, Boeing plans to move out of the Puget Sound area support for most other out-of-production airplanes, including the 707, 727, previous 737 models and 757. That change will move 300 jobs from the Puget Sound to Southern California, company spokesman Doug Alder said.

In April, Boeing told employees that it planned to layoff up to 700 engineers this year, because design work was declining for the 747-8, 787-9 and the KC-46 Tanker programs, and the 787-10 nor the 777X programs had not yet launched.

Boeing recently concluded contentious contract negotiations with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which represents union engineers in the Washington.