Boeing Co. (BA) plans to assemble the largest of three 787 Dreamliner models exclusively at its factory in North Charleston, South Carolina, rather than at a Seattle-area plant, where most of its widebody jets are built.
The 787-10, scheduled to enter the market later this decade, will be the first Boeing jetliner to only be built in South Carolina, Boeing said in a statement today. The non-unionized plant is the Chicago-based planemaker’s first expansion outside of its traditional manufacturing hub for commercial jets in the Puget Sound region.
Boeing’s decision comes as the North Charleston plant overcomes early stumbles that have driven up production costs for the planemaker’s marquee jet. Another consideration is that the midbody section for the 787-10, produced at the facility, will be too large to fit in Boeing’s Dreamlifter cargo fleet for transport to its main plant in Everett, Washington.
“This will allow us to balance 787 production across the North Charleston and Everett sites as we increase production rates,” Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 787, said in a statement. “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.”
Boeing’s production output of 10 787s per month is the largest of any widebody jets in its history, and is slated to rise to 12 jets per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade.
While the Everett factory continues to assemble seven of the carbon-fiber jets per month, Charleston’s output will rise from the current three-jet monthly total to five a month in 2016 and seven a month by late this decade, Boeing said.
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