Stockpile of Boeing 737 MAX jets assures Moses Lake years of work
, 2023-03-08 08:00:00,
Moses Lake, Washington, doesn’t have commercial airline service, but the casual visitor to Grant County International Airport might assume otherwise. Shiny Boeing 737 MAX jets are parked wingtip to wingtip in row after row on two sides of the expansive airfield. They sport colorful liveries from a wide variety of exotic carriers such as Xiamen Air, Ukraine International, Ural Airlines and Donghai Airlines, to name a few.
The reason? When the MAX was grounded in 2019 after two deadly accidents, Boeing kept manufacturing the airplane. Today, 100 or more undelivered MAX’s are still parked at the airfield in Moses Lake, awaiting modifications. The work is lasting so long that some technicians and machinists who were sent there from Boeing’s Puget Sound facilities are now buying homes and putting down roots.
A Boeing spokesperson said the company is consolidating its undelivered 737 inventory in Seattle and Moses Lake and doing the needed rework on the single-aisle jets in Central Washington. Port of Moses Lake Airport Director Rich Mueller said Boeing has had between 100 and 140 MAX jets parked around the airfield lately.
“They have been willing to make us the center of return-to-service and we’re grateful, we absolutely are,” Mueller said in an interview on the tarmac.
The semi-arid climate in Moses Lake is conducive for longer-term storage of metal aircraft and the relatively close proximity to Seattle makes it easier to rotate in crews with maintenance…
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