EVERETT, Wash. — Boeing announced on Thursday it will move all production of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft from its giant Everett plant to its facility in Charleston, South Carolina starting in mid-2021, according to the company’s best estimate.
“As our customers manage through the unprecedented global pandemic, to ensure the long-term success of the 787 program, we are consolidating 787 production in South Carolina,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Deal said Boeing workers in Puget Sound will focus on building the 737, 747, 767 and 777 airplane families.
The company began assembling 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes at its Everett plant in 2007.
In a statement, Gov. Inslee says as many as 1,000 people may lose their jobs. That’s on top of layoffs already underway because pandemic-stricken airlines are delaying and canceling orders.
“I was actually having a conversation with a couple of my co-workers, and you know they’re all worried because we’re getting rid of the 787 from Everett, so that means more layoffs on top of the other layoffs,” said one Everett worker to KIRO 7.
Boeing’s South Carolina facility is newer, more automated, and it’s the only place the largest version of the 787 is built. It is also a nonunion facility.
Scott Hamilton is one of the nation’s leading aerospace analysts.
“The labor force in Charleston is less expensive than the labor force here. The cost of doing business in South Carolina is less than the cost of doing business here.”
Boeing received a 2003 tax break to build the Dreamliner in Everett, but gave it up this past February to settle a dispute with the World Trade Organization.
When asked if there anything that Washington could have offered to keep the production line here, Hamilton responded, “Nope.”
Congressman Rick Larsen represents Everett and has been talking with the company, “I think it’s shortsighted, I think it’s misguided.”
Larsen has asked Boeing what it would take to keep the 787 line in Everett.
“The company doesn’t seem to want any help from the government as far as I can tell. Unless they define what their needs are, ... there’s little that we can do to help them help the company specifically.”
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