The Battle For Boeing's Business
Now that Boeing has a name for its new jet -- the Dreamliner -- the race is on to build a manufacturing facility for the ambitious project. To date, about 24 states have submitted bids to host the new assembly plant. All kinds of incentives -- from tax breaks to favorable zoning -- are being offered with the hefty proposals. The deadline for submittal was Friday the 13th, but Boeing declined to say how many states had actually submitted proposals. "Now the hard work for us begins," Mike Bair, senior vice president of the 7E7 Dreamliner program, told the Associated Press. A Boeing team will evaluate the proposals against a set of criteria the company published in May and will announce a decision by the end of the year. Washington state is hoping to keep Boeing's new jet business at home. Washington Gov. Gary Locke made a special visit to Renton to schmooze with Boeing execs and push for this opportunity to revive the ailing aerospace market in his state. In the meantime, Michigan offered up to $300 million in incentives over a 20-year period but analysts say the bid may not be enough to entice the company to build its new plant in the state. All this hoopla doesn't seem to impress the company that will compete against the new airliner on the world market. The Dreamliner "is more a marketing tool than an engineering reality," Airbus VP John Leahy told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "It is more a PR threat." Time will tell.