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Boeing Completes Important Stage in Utah Expansion

Brian Grimmett
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox speaks in front of two Utah built 787 horizontal stabilizers. These keep the plane stable in flight and also house the elevator, or the part that moves the plane up and down.

The very first Utah built horizontal stabilizer for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is on its way to final assembly. The event is a major milestone in the expansion of Boeing’s manufacturing capabilities in the state.

The Boeing Salt Lake City facility employs more than 600 people and has been assembling the tail fin and horizontal stabilizer for the new 787 Dreamliner for several years. But the company recently opened an 850 thousand square foot facility in West Jordan where they can now also make the center section of the horizontal stabilizer. Larry Coughlin is the general manger for Boeing Salt Lake.

“That factory now has delivered its first center section. We brought it up here, we assembled the rest of it, we painted it, and now we just delivered it," Coughlin explains. "So, that’s what’s exciting. It’s a 100% Utah built horizontal stabilizer.”

Val Hale is the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. His department has worked closely with Boeing as they’ve expanded operations in the Salt Lake Valley. And while GOED failed to lure a new Boeing assembly plant to the state last year, Hale says he has high hopes for the future of the relationship.

“We’re not sure what their next airplane will be, but hopefully we did a good enough job with our proposal for the 777X that when their next airplane project rolls around we’ll be right at the top of the list,” he says.

Boeing officials and state leaders say the key to any future is providing an educated workforce and to that end have recently partnered to create the Utah Aerospace Pathways program that will allow high school students to earn certificates in aerospace manufacturing. 

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