MIAMI – Boeing wants to expedite the 787 production line move. Right now, the aircraft is produced in both Everett and Charleston, South Carolina. The move shall now be completed by March and not mid-2021, according to an internal memo.
Statement from Boeing Vice President
Lane Ballard, Boeing vice president and general manager of Boeing 787 program, said, “Production and delivery consolidation in South Carolina … will take place in March 2021.” The company’s reduction of the 787 production rate from six airplanes a month to five.
Ballard also stated that Everett employees will continue to work until March. In addition to production, employees will be in charge of quality control of the 787s, in light of the defects that have been found on the fuselage.
“I know you will have many questions, chief among them may be what will be the impact to employment. We are working through details,” Ballard told the employees.
“There is no plan to shift teammates from Everett to South Carolina, or viceversa,” the memo states, adding that the work to inspect the fuselage joins “will likely extend 787 work in Everett beyond the production-consolidation plan.”
In August, Boeing grounded eight 787s after finding defects in the fuselage. Last year it expanded control over all fuselages, which are built in Wichita, Japan, Italy and Charleston. Boeing is setting up what it calls “join verification” stations in Everett and North Charleston where the work of inspecting and repairing the 787 fuselage joins will be done.
“Airplanes that are stored until delivery, and airplanes currently in our production system, will go through this join verification process,” the memo said. In Everett, the final assembly line will be converted to this work.
By March “all four of the current Everett 787 final assembly positions will become join verification positions,” Ballard wrote. “Additional join verification positions will be created in the South Carolina final assembly facility.”
Ballard added that stored airplanes assembled in Everett would go to Everett for join inspection and delivery while stored airplanes assembled in South Carolina would go to South Carolina for join inspection and delivery.
Featured image: Boeing 787 Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways