LONDON – Boeing has today announced plans to consolidate the production of the 787 Dreamliner to its plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The manufacturer has stated this is in response to the market downturn, positions for recovery, and long-term growth. Boeing will continue to produce the aircraft at Everett, Washington until 2021 at the previously announced production rate of six units per month.
Ensuring Long-Term Success
Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, stated that this move was needed to preserve the longevity of the aircraft’s success.
“The Boeing 787 is the tremendous success it is today thanks to our great teammates in Everett. They helped give birth to an airplane that changed how airlines and passengers want to fly.”
“As our customers manage through the unprecedented global pandemic, to ensure the long-term success of the 787 program, we are consolidating 787 production in South Carolina.” Deal also gave some insight into the other aircraft the manufacturer currently produces.
“Our team in Puget Sound will continue to focus on efficiently building our 737, 747, 767 and 777 airplane families, and both sites will drive Boeing initiatives to further enhance safety, quality, and operational excellence.”
Disruption for Employment?
Boeing said that it is assessing the impacts to employment over the production switch to Charleston. As only the 787-10 is the only variation of the Dreamliner that is built in Charleston, it said that it will communicate the changes to employees.
Deal added to this, saying that Boeing explored all options for its workers. “We recognize that production decisions can impact our teammates, industry and our community partners.”
“We extensively evaluated every aspect of the program and engaged with our stakeholders on how we can best partner moving forward. These efforts will further refine 787 production and enhance the airplane’s value proposition.” The manufacturer also said that such consolidation will enhance efficiency, “which enables the company to accelerate improvements and target investments to better support customers”.
The Boeing 787 came to life at the Everett site in 2007, before bringing the North Charleston facility into life around three years ago later for -10 development.
In July this year, the manufacturer commenced a study into the feasibility of producing the aircraft at just one site. This will be a big step for Boeing to take, especially as the Everett roots will become no more going into 2021.
It will be interesting to see how much success Boeing will have from this consolidation and whether this will enhance production further, going into a post-pandemic-based industry.
As the manufacturer tries to get through COVID-19, bring the 737 MAX crisis to an end, as well as 777X delays to an end, this will no doubt be one step out of many that the manufacturer will have to take in order to ensure viability.
Featured Image: Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo Credit: Brandon Farris