Boeing is moving its center for flight and maintenance training from Seattle to Miami, the company announced Friday.
The halt in deliveries of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners because of battery issues is giving Boeing an opportunity to disassemble the Dreamliner and other flight trainers it now operates its training headquarters in Tukwila and reassemble them at its Miami training site.
“With the 787 grounded, there’s a lessening of the training demand,” Boeing spokesman Jim Condelles said. “There’s an opportunity with that situation to relocate to Miami.”
The company said the move has long been planned. Since 2008, the company has closed flight training centers in Dallas, Long Beach, Calif.; Minneapolis and Louisville, Ky. Once the flight simulators are moved from the Tukwila training center, all Boeing flight training in the U.S. will be focused in Miami.
The company said Miami is closer to the Latin American, European and Middle Eastern airline customers who use Boeing’s training services.
The union that represents Boeing’s engineers and technical workers said the move is short-sighted.
Boeing’s flight training pilots, the Airplane Manufacturing Pilots Association, are in negotiations with Boeing. The pilots are represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.
The union said the simulators are an integral part of the airplane production and customer support functions in Seattle and are used by engineers.
“Moving these valuable tools thousands of miles from the engineering heart of Boeing is another example of (Boeing) treating engineering as secondary rather than a core function of the company,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director, told Reuters.
Boeing denied there was a connection between the move and the negotiations.
Boeing three years ago opened up its first commercial airplane assembly plant outside the Puget Sound area in Charleston, S.C. after the Machinists Union and Boeing couldn’t reach an extended contract.