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Boeing celebrates roll-out of 1,000th 767 jet

As Boeing rolled out its 1,000th 767 airplane in a ceremony at its factory in Everett, Wash., it’s top executive said the company is ready to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

The tankers Boeing is offering as aerial refuelers are based on the 767 platform. It’s competing against EADS, which is offering a tanker based on its A330. The award is expected early this year.

“It was great to see so many people here today – the engineers, the technicians, the machinists – who have made the 767 the wonderful airplane it is,” Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing’s commercial aircraft division said in a statement. “As we salute the 1,000th 767, the next 767 is already being built in a new bay where we can produce airplanes much more efficiently for years to come. We hope many of the new 767s will become U.S. Air Force tankers built right here.”

Spirit builds the nose section, struts and thrust reversers for the 767 in Wichita. It builds the fixed leading edge of the wing at its Tulsa facility.

The 1,000th airplane is a 767-300ER passenger model for ANA, All Nippon Airways, and was the last 767 to be assembled on the current production line.  Production work on following 767 aircraft will be in a smaller bay that the company says will mean leaner, more efficient production.

Three models of 767 aircraft carry 200 to 300 passengers. Boeing also offers the plane configured for use as a medium-widebody freighter.