MIAMI — Boeing has announced that it will build the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner in Charleston, South Carolina. This will be the first time a new Boeing commercial airliner of any kind will begin production outside the Seattle area.
It will still continue to assemble the 787-8s and 787-9s in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina.
“We looked at all our options and found the most efficient and effective solution is to build the 787-10 at Boeing South Carolina,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager, 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.. ” This will allow us to balance 787 production across the North Charleston and Everett sites as we increase production rates. We’re happy with our growth and success in South Carolina, and the continued success at both sites give us confidence in our plan going forward.”
The 787-10 will be 18 feet longer than the 787-9. 10 of the 18 feet will increase the mid-body section of the aircraft. Boeing says that the midbody is too long for it to transport efficiently to Everett so the aircraft will be assembled in North Charleston.
However, Boeing sees final assembly in North Charleston this as an opportunity for the Everett facility to continue to improve productivity.
Boeing currently produces ten 787s a month with three production lines (two in Everett producing 7 aircraft per month and one in South Carolina producing 3 aircraft per month), but it plans to increase to 12 aircraft per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade.
Currently, Boeing has received 132 orders from six airlines to for the 787-10 since it was launched at the Paris Air Show last year. The aircraft is expected to be delivered to its first customer in 2018.
Some are surprised that Boeing has selected North Charleston to exclusively build the 787-10. There have been many labor issues and other issues. When the manufacturer announced that it would build a factory in South Carolina, it strained ties with its organized labor, but a deal was reached. Currently, the employees in North Charleston are not unionized, but unions want them to organize.
Additionally, the facility has only assembled Dreamliners that were already in production in Washington, and they have had several issues when it comes to final assembly.