An artist's rendering of the 737 MAX 8

Boeing 737 MAX winglets to be produced in UK

Plane maker Boeing has chosen GKN Aerospace in the Isle of Wight to produce winglets for its 737 MAX planes.

Production Boeing’s Advanced Technology Winglet, a wingtip device designed to reduce drag and optimise performance over longer ranges, will take place at the GKN site at Cowes with final assembly at GKN's facility in South Carolina, USA.

The 737 MAX, Boeing’s newest family of single-aisle aircraft, is scheduled for first flight in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017. GKN will deliver the first developmental winglet ship sets to Boeing in 2015.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The Government is working hand in hand with industry to maintain Britain's position as the centre of aerospace technology. Britain's technical experts can ensure we remain the world's preferred supplier and continue to build and design the planes of the future: lighter, quieter, faster, and more fuel efficient.

"Today's announcement will safeguard hundreds of jobs and is a welcome boost to our economic growth."

Business Minister Michael Fallon said "This significant deal creates and secures hundreds of high skilled, long-term engineering jobs on the Isle of Wight and across GKN's domestic supply chain."

Two suppliers are manufacturing winglets for the 737 MAX program, GKN and Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) in South Korea.

“We announced our first winglet contracts for Boeing aircraft in 2007 and this award reflects the on-going success of our growing relationship,” said Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace and Land Systems.

“It also draws on our expertise in the efficient manufacture of complex composite and metallic wing structures and makes full use of our ability to assemble this advanced structure. We are extremely proud to be part of the team that is producing this unique winglet and to be involved with Boeing in creating this extremely efficient next-generation airframe."  

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