Boeing Canada introduced plans to expand manufacturing space at its Winnipeg, Manitoba, operation, a part of the jet builder’s initiative to increase production of composite parts for its 737 MAX. The cost of the project was not reported, but the OEM said it would get underway immediately and be complete during the fourth quarter of 2014.

The current plant in Winnipeg will be expanded by 150,000 square feet, to a total of 665,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

The expanded building will have two bays housing production for the 737 MAX narrow-body commercial jet, as well as some work for the 787 Dreamliner wide-body jet program.

"I am very pleased with how our Winnipeg team has actively taken steps to be globally competitive and a reliable supplier to Boeing," stated Ross R. Bogue, vice president and general manager, Boeing Fabrication, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We value the Canadian aerospace industry by consistently placing work with our Boeing Canadian facilities and supplier partners."

The 737 MAX will be a new-engine variant of the current Next-Generation 737, which Boeing describes as “the world's best-selling airplane.” The 737s are a mainstay of domestic airlines, covering thousands of miles of commercial flights every day. Nearly 1,200 customer commitments have been recorded since the new jet was formally announced in 2011.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes is scheduled to introduce the new model 737 MAX in 2017, with Southwest Airlines as the launch customer.

Boeing said the primary task for the new manufacturing space at Winnipeg would be constructing a one-piece, acoustic inner barrel in a composite material. The barrel is to be installed on the nacelle of the jet’s new engine, a CFM International LEAP-1B design.  The new engines are described as larger and more fuel-efficient than the

The inner barrel is a “quiet engine technology” that Boeing plans to use to reduce operating noise up to 405.

"Boeing Canada Winnipeg has a great future ahead in support of unprecedented production rates," stated Kevin Bartelson, general manager, Boeing Canada Winnipeg.

"Earlier this year, we negotiated a successful contract extension with our local Canadian Auto Workers union. This contract ensures we have the stable workforce, skills and now the manufacturing space we need to take on exciting new production for the 737 MAX," Bartelson.