Boeing plans to build a new larger version of its 787 Dreamliner exclusively at its North Charleston facility, the aerospace giant announced Wednesday.
The new 787-10 is longer than the Dreamliners currently being assembled at the company’s South Carolina site, which opened in 2011. The first plane is scheduled to be assembled beginning in 2017.
“We looked at all our options and found the most efficient and effective solution is to build the 787-10 at Boeing South Carolina,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager for the 787 program Larry Loftis said in a statement. “This will allow us to balance 787 production across the North Charleston and Everett sites as we increase production rates. 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 announcement was also significant because it marks the first time Boeing has assembled an jetliner model entirely with nonunion workers. The North Charleston site had been assembling Boeing’s current Dreamliner version with workers in Everett, Washington.
Boeing officials said the South Carolina final assembly plant will gradually increase from three 787s per month currently to five per month in 2016 and seven per month by the end of the decade.
In a statement, Gov. Nikki Haley called the announcement “huge” for South Carolina. “That Boeing is committing the future of the Dreamliner to our state – the first place, ever, outside of Washington State that Boeing has built a commercial airplane – lets the whole world know that South Carolina workers are the best around. The success that Boeing South Carolina has become in less than five years is a testament to the Boeing leadership and above all, the Boeing employees whose talent and dedication make all of us so proud. It truly is another great day in South Carolina.”