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Boeing to Build Biggest 787 in the South

Author: Christopher Drew

Source: The New York Times

July 31, 2014

Boeing said on Wednesday that it would assemble the largest of its three 787 Dreamliner jets only in South Carolina, rather than splitting the work with a plant in Washington State as it has for the first two models.

Boeing had planned to put together the middle part of the fuselage on the larger model, the 787-10, in North Charleston, S.C. But on Wednesday, the company said that section would be too long to fly to Everett, Wash., making it more efficient to finish the whole plane in South Carolina.

The decision, which was widely expected, expands Boeing’s commitment to its newer facilities in North Charleston, a right-to-work state where its machinists are not unionized. The company has battled with its unions in Washington State.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers narrowly approved a new eight-year contract in January to help assure that Boeing would build its new 777X plane in the Puget Sound area. That contract included concessions from the union, and Boeing has been seeking to lower costs by balancing more of its production between two states.

The company, based in Chicago, said it planned to continue assembling the 787-8s, the original model of the jet and the new 787-9 in both Everett and North Charleston.

The 787-10 will be 18 feet longer than the 787-9 to hold more passengers. Boeing said final assembly of the first 787-10 would begin in North Charleston in 2017.

It said it would continue to assemble seven 787s a month in Everett. Production in North Charleston would increase to five a month in 2016 from three now and then also reach seven a month by the end of the decade.

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