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Originally published Friday, March 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM

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Boeing shifting flight training from Renton to Miami

By Seattle Times business staff

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Boeing will move its Seattle-area flight-training operations to Miami, starting with two 787 flight simulators that aren’t getting much use because deliveries have been suspended, the company said Friday.

All eight flight simulators now at the Longacres Boeing site in Renton will be relocated to the Miami facility, which can accommodate 20 but currently has only 11.

The move will affect about 100 jobs at the local Boeing Flight Services operation, which has more than 500 employees, said spokesman Jim Condelles. Some may be offered an opportunity to relocate, he said.

The Renton simulators train pilots and maintenance personnel on the full range of Boeing planes now in production.

Boeing has 19 such flight-training centers around the world; Miami is the largest.

The company announced several years ago its plans to consolidate 787 training but never made the move, Condelles said.

The 787 simulators will be moved first because the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner fleet means Boeing can’t deliver any to customers.

“There’s a lessening of demand (for training) right now, so this is an opportunity” to move them, said Condelles. Other 787 simulators are available at Boeing facilities in London, Singapore and Shanghai, he said.

News of the relocation comes 10 months after the pilots and instructors at the local facility voted 48-11 to join the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth said Friday the union is in the middle of negotiations with Boeing on a contract for that bargaining unit.

Along with airline customers, the company’s engineers also utilize the simulators, he said, so “there will also be negative impacts to engineering.”

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