Portless Arkansas may not hurt with Boeing

(October 14, 2003) — (Seattle-AP) -- Boeing wants to revolutionize not only how it designs and builds its proposed new 7-E-7 jet -- it's looking to change how the airplane parts get to the factory. Boeing says it will fly in the major parts by jumbo jet, instead of relying on barges, trains and trucks. Not only will the shift cut down the time to assemble the jet, but it also lessens Boeing's dependence on ports. And as Boeing nears a decision in its nationwide contest on where to assemble the plane, analysts say the announcement could bode well for landlocked communities. Arkansas submitted three possible sites in the competition for the plant. But Boeing says its criteria have not changed and the assembly site will still have to have access to a port. Since June, Boeing has been evaluating proposals from communities around the country bidding for the 7-E-7 final-assembly plant. Washington and other states have been offering incentives to land the factory and its one-thousand jobs.