On Wednesday Boeing approved the choice of North Charleston, South Carolina for a second final assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing Charleston will serve as a final assembly location, as well as supporting the testing and delivery of the airplanes.
The second 787 assembly line will do a couple of things. It will expand our production capability and diversify our manufacturing base. We think ultimately this will reduce costs on the program, and that’s important for maintaining our competitiveness.
You can read some of the details of the announcement in our news release.
Boeing Charleston will be the site of the 2nd 787 final assembly line.
I think one of the first things I should reiterate here, as Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, emphasized to employees, is that we remain committed to Puget Sound.
Even though we’re expanding at Boeing Charleston, the Pacific Northwest remains the headquarters for BCA, and Everett will continue to design and produce airplanes, including the Dreamliner. As Jim put it, “there is tremendous opportunity for our current and future products here.”
Something very important to point out: we’re adding jobs in South Carolina, not taking them away from Puget Sound. Again, as we heard today, the Puget Sound area, where Boeing began, is and will continue to be our center for design, flight test and manufacturing.
One other note, until Charleston’s second 787 line is underway, we’ll establish a transitional “surge” capability in Everett. This is to make sure we have a successful introduction of the 787-9, as well as ensure a smooth ramp-up to 10 deliveries per month between the two sites. When the Charleston line is up and running we’ll phase out the Everett surge capability.
The process will take about 2 years. Our goal is to have the second line up and operational in July 2011, with a first airplane delivery from Charleston in the first quarter of 2012.
We will have the processes in place to effectively manage 787 airplane quality while operating 2 final assembly sites.
Finally, I want to point out that before we made this decision, we looked at a number of factors, including the business environment, logistics and infrastructure that exist at both company locations. We applied the same basic assumptions and ground rules to both sites, with a heavy emphasis on long-term competitiveness and ensuring a sustainable stream of deliveries for our customers.
And that’s the bottom line, staying competitive, diversifying our manufacturing base and cost effectively delivering to our customers the 787 Dreamliner, an outstanding airplane with unprecedented market demand that as Jim said, sets “the standard for commercial aviation in the second century of flight.”