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California among states vying for Boeing jet plant

  • In this artist's concept provided by The Boeing Co. is the aerospace company's new family of 777X jetliners, the 777-9X, top, and 777-8X. (AP Photo/The Boeing Co.)

LONG BEACH — California is one of at least a half-dozen states vying for Boeing's attention as the aircraft giant selects a production site for its new 400-seat 777X jetliner.

A deal to bring the facility to California could create thousands of jobs and resuscitate the once-vibrant Southern California aerospace industry.

Boeing Co. solicited bids from a number of states in November, and bidders have until mid-December to act, company spokesman Doug Alder Jr. said Tuesday. California planned to submit its proposal to Boeing on Tuesday.

Boeing began receiving replies this week and will begin reviews in several days, he said. Officials in Alabama, California, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Utah are among those who have spoken publicly about wooing Boeing with economic incentive packages worth millions of dollars.

"Based on our skilled workforce, existing manufacturing base and targeted business incentives, California is in a strong position to compete," Mike Rossi, Gov. Jerry Brown's senior adviser for jobs and business development, said in a statement.

California officials have been tight-lipped about what they are offering, but the stakes are high.

Boeing announced in September that it would cease production of its C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jet in 2015 and shutter its Long Beach production facility, which provides about 2,000 jobs and has been a backbone of the regional economy.

Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Fairfax, Va.-based Teal Group, said California might have an uphill battle sealing a deal to build the 777X, despite the benefits available in Long Beach.

Boeing might instead prefer to sell its property there and profit from high real estate prices, he said.

"You have expensive real estate, tight labor supply, union issues, environmental regulations and geographic constraints. No one's really thinking, Oh, it's perfect for large, heavy scale manufacturing," Aboulafia said. "It doesn't quite add up."

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