Boeing’s new Propulsion South Carolina design and production facility opened Wednesday at the Palmetto Commerce Park in Ladson.
It represents the company’s re-entry into an engine parts business that it had once given up to suppliers. Propulsion South Carolina brings much of that work in-house for the first time in more than a decade.
“For a long time now, a lot of this had been out into the supply chain,” Ray Conner, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said during an opening ceremony at the 225,000-square-foot facility. “That’s not to say they weren’t doing a good job. It’s just the fact that we wanted to be more involved in this so we could do a better job for our customers and maintain our competitive edge.”
Conner said the new plant in North Charleston firmly brings the state into the Boeing organization. “South Carolina now is part of the much bigger Boeing family of airplanes than we ever could have imagined back in 2008.”
Governor Nikki Haley said it shows Boeing’s commitment to South Carolina. “To bring in this propulsion section into the Boeing team instead of outsourcing it is just absolutely huge to say yes we can build things and yes we build them well, “ Haley said at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The plant is Boeing’s only facility to design and make engine inlet components for the single-aisle 737 MAX airplane — the next generation of the popular 737 model. The facility — which broke ground in November 2013 — will also design fan cowls for the 737 MAX and engine nacelles for the wide-body 777X. The 777X begins production later this year. The work for the 777X was announced Wednesday and was only recently added to the plant’s portfolio.
The $1 billion investment by Boeing is expected to create 2,000 new jobs in South Carolina over eight years. The plant is located a few miles from the factory where Boeing currently assembles its 787 Dreamliner.