Final assembly center expected to transform Zhoushan and bring benefits to local industries and workforce
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing will begin building a completion and delivery center for B737 and B737 MAX airliners in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, by the end of March and is set to deliver the first aircraft in 2018.
The facility, located near Shanghai, will consist of two parts: the completion center, a joint venture between Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, and the delivery center, wholly owned by Boeing.
"We are continuing to discuss plans for the facility with our joint venture partner and government officials, and we will announce more information at a later date," says Wang Yukui, Boeing China's vice-president of communications.
Boeing earlier said that the center would deliver 100 planes every year, and the US manufacturer would cooperate with more Chinese interior suppliers, helping raise their skills, from raw materials to assembly.
The joint venture will cover cabin installation activities such as the setup of seats and in-flight entertainment systems, as well as painting, flight testing and aircraft maintenance.
By 2025, the aviation industrial park in Zhoushan will assemble, deliver and modify more than 600 jets. The value of annual output is expected to reach 70 billion yuan ($10.1 billion; 9.5 billion; 8.2 billion), according to the Zhoushan Evening News.
The plant is also creating significant opportunities for local aviation-related businesses. Segments benefiting include assurance services, maritime patrols, aviation logistics, bonded processing and aeronautical research.
Additionally, the plant is expected to develop industrial tourism that includes duty-free shopping, recreation and entertainment.
Being an archipelago, the city of Zhoushan has inconvenient land transportation, which provides opportunities for air transport. Meanwhile, as part of the Yangtze River Delta region, neighboring cities such as Shanghai and Hangzhou will provide skilled human resources.
"In the near future, Zhoushan will take an important position on the map of China's aviation industry, and even in the global aviation industry pattern," says Guo Qi, deputy director of the integrated planning institute, part of China Aviation Planning and Design Institute (Group).
In September 2015, Boeing and COMAC signed an agreement to jointly establish a B737 completion center in China after President Xi Jinping's visit to the Seattle area, home of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The engine of a 737 MAX 9 jetliner during production at Boeing Co's US manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington, US. Boeing plans to construct a B737 and B737 MAX assembly in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. David Ryder / Getty Images