NORTH CHARLESTON — Boeing has formally rolled out the first 787-10 Dreamliner in North Charleston, South Carolina, in a ceremony led by US President Donald Trump.
Trump was joined by Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
“What’s happening here at Boeing South Carolina is a true American success story,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “In just a few short years, our team has transformed a greenfield site into a modern aerospace production facility that is delivering 787s to airlines all over the world and supporting thousands of U.S. jobs in the process.”
Speaking to employees, McAllister said “You make Boeing proud. You make South Carolina proud. You make America proud.”
Prior to introducing President Trump, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said “This may be the single best day in the history of South Carolina.” McMaster, a longtime Trump ally, welcomed the Donald Trump to South Carolina for the first time as President.
With anticipation building in the crowd, the massive hangar doors of the final assembly hall opened to unveil Air Force One and the first 787-10. Shortly thereafter, President Trump made his appearance and addressed the crowd.
Trump praised the 787 program and noted “We are here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” although the wings, fuselage sections and empennage of the 787 are built in Italy and Japan, and other components such as the wiring, is produced in Mexico.
While sticking mostly to his regular stump speech, Trump did make news when he said he is “looking to make a big order” for the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet.
The visit comes weeks after President Trump publicly criticized Boeing for the rising cost of the Air Force One replacement aircraft. On December 6th, Trump called the costs “out of control” and threatened to cancel the multi-billion dollar order. During his speech Trump addressed the ongoing Air Force One replacement saying “Air Force One, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old.”
This week, reports surfaced that Donald Trump held discussions with an Air Force General regarding the Lockhead F-35 program and allowed Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg listen in on the call, a move that has been criticized by some in the defense industry.
On February 9th, Donald Trump hosted airline industry executives at the White House to discuss aviation infrastructure in the United States. Among those in attendance to discuss including United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, and Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.
The 787-10 will be the only variant of the Dreamliner built exclusively in South Carolina. Because the center fuselage section of the 787-10 is too large to be carried by dedicated 747 Dreamlifters from Charleston to Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory, the Charleston factory became the only option for Boeing.
The roll-out event has come only two days after a 74% majority of North Charleston workers voted to reject representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Launched at the Paris Airshow in 2013, the 787-10 Dreamliner has seen slow orders with just 149 frames sold since its launch. After a slow 2016 sales campaign, the 787-10 program did receive a major boost last week when Singapore Airlines ordered 19 787-10s.
At 68.3 meters in length (5.48 m longer the the 787-9) the 787-10 is the largest Dreamliner model to date. Holding 330 passengers in a standard two-class configuration and with a range of 6,430 miles, the -10 will become a direct competitor to the Airbus A350-900.
The first completed 787-10, fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, will now be prepared to enter flight testing ahead of a scheduled first delivery in the first half of 2018 to Singapore Airlines, which will be the launch carrier of the type. to date, Singapore Airlines is the largest 787-10 customer with 49 of the variant on order.
Editor’s Note: Airways will be covering a full 787 program update and Korean Air’s 787-9 delivery next week from Charleston. Stay tuned for more news at airwaysmag.com