In true journal style, I wanted to share my recent trip to South Carolina a couple of weeks ago.. including the first publicly released photos from inside our new 787 Dreamliner production facility.
I started the day by swinging through the office around 6:30am to do some quick prep work on a presentation I was giving to a group of our suppliers that morning. Three hours later, I’m headed for Sea-Tac Airport and a trip to Charleston—home of our second production, final assembly and delivery site for the 787 Dreamliner.
Later that evening, I land in Atlanta to make my connection to Charleston. Once again, my trusty bag- a travel partner that’s logged the same 250,000 miles as I have the past year—comes along for the ride.
I finally arrive at the hotel in downtown Charleston where the three hour time difference means all the restaurants have already closed up shop. As usual, I can only grab a sandwich before heading off to bed to rest up for what will be a very busy next two days.
Even though I was a bit tired, I was certainly eager to start the morning. The day began with an event where I got to speak in front of 150 Boeing teammates about the current aviation market and where it’s headed. The crowd offered up some great questions and it was easy to see they’re very interested in our competitive position and knowing what our customers want.
Next stop, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Economic Outlook Conference where I gave the keynote speech. My main focus was on the future 787s that will be built in South Carolina and where the markets for those airplanes will be. We’re excited to be in South Carolina and it was very clear that South Carolina is just as excited to have us there.
After a series of interviews with the local press (check out the story posted by the ABC affiliate— video clip at the top right of the page), I finally got a chance to explore. I chose to stay in downtown Charleston to get a feel for the city and its history. It’s called the Holy City because of all the church steeples that dot the skyline.
Touring downtown Charleston.
That evening, I attended a small dinner with some local folks where I learned a lot about the region while enjoying a lovely pork shank. My foodie friends will be disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to eat shrimp and grits (but I’ll make sure that happens on my next visit, or when I have Carolina in my mind).
Pork shank for dinner.
On my final day in town, I got the chance to tour our Boeing South Carolina facility. Right now the site fabricates, assembles and installs systems for rear fuselage sections of the Dreamliner—as well as joining and integrating midbody fuselage sections from other partners. On this day, I actually saw where the barrel sections of the airplane were being built.
Inside our new final assembly building in Charleston.
During my tour, I got a sneak peek at our new 787 Dreamliner production facility that will begin final assembly later this year and deliver its first 787 next year. What a sight it was to see the facility and some of the tooling coming together for that first airplane out of South Carolina. The new final assembly building there is huge and gorgeous, and everyone there is really doing it right. Boeing South Carolina plays a key role as we step up production of the 787, with three airplanes a month coming out of the site in 2013. We’ve also teamed up with South Carolina Electric & Gas for an energy partnership that will enable Boeing South Carolina to operate as a 100 percent renewable energy site.