Final assembly of Boeing’s latest Dreamliner series of airplanes will take place exclusively in North Charleston, S.C.
Currently, design of the 787-10 is underway in Everett, Wash., with final assembly of the airplane scheduled for 2017 in the Palmetto State.
The aircraft manufacturer will continue to assemble both 787-8s and 787-9s in Everett, Wash., and North Charleston.
After considering a variety of options, Boeing found the most efficient and effective solution was to build the 787-10 at Boeing South Carolina, said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager of the 787 program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Production of the 787 will now take place in both North Charleston and Everett to increase production rates, he said. “We’re happy with our growth and success in South Carolina, and the continued success at both sites gives us confidence in our plan going forward.”
The 787-10 will leverage 787 technology to provide more passenger and cargo capacity. Since its launch in June 2013, the 787-10 has won 132 orders from six global customers.
Gov. Nikki Haley said Boeing’s announcement is huge for the Palmetto State.
The company’s decision to commit to the Dreamliner’s future in South Carolina is a testament to its workers, she said. “South Carolina workers are the best around.”
The Everett facility will continue to assemble seven airplanes per month, while Boeing South Carolina final assembly will gradually increase from three 787s per month today to five per month in 2016 and seven per month by the end of the decade.
The news out of North Charleston is a sign of things to come, said Jason Premo, CEO of Adex Machining Technologies.
South Carolina will eventually be the exclusive production center for one of the worlds most advanced modern commercial jets, one that is receiving strong customer demand and a backlog that continues to rise, he said.
The 787-10 will be 18 feet (5.5 meters) longer than the 787-9. With 10 feet (3 meters) of that increase in the midbody section, the 787-10 midbody is too long to be transported efficiently from North Charleston, where systems integration work is performed, to the Everett facility for final assembly. In addition, introducing the 787-10 in North Charleston takes advantage of that facility’s capacity while allowing the Everett facility to continue improving productivity as it focuses on the 787-8 and 787-9.
The 787 production system includes three production lines: two in Everett (including a temporary surge line) and one in South Carolina. The integrated production system currently operates at a production rate of 10 airplanes per month. As announced last year, the 787 production rate will increase to 12 airplanes per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade.