Boeing makes it official, moving 787 production from Seattle to South Carolina

SEATTLE – Boeing said Thursday that it would close the original assembly line for its two-corridor 787 jetliner near Seattle and strengthen aircraft production in South Carolina as the airline industry tries to weather a global pandemic.

The move will begin in mid-2021. The company intends to assemble other jetliners – 737, 747, 767 and 777 – in the Seattle area.

“Consolidating to a single 787 production location in South Carolina will give us a more competitive and efficient, better position and help us win these challenging times,” Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing’s commercial aircraft business, told workers in an email.

The company did not immediately say whether the move would terminate jobs, but Rep. J. T. Wilcox, the Republican leader of the state House of Representatives, posted on Facebook after a call with the company that the decision would bring about 900 jobs in Washington Will affect the state.

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It had a statewide workforce of more than 70,000 people before announcing in April that it was cutting 10% of its workforce.

The 787 is mostly used for international routes. In 2003 Washington State gave Boeing massive tax breaks – about $ 100 million per year – to entice the company to assemble the aircraft in the state. The subsidies were canceled earlier this year after they were found illegal by the World Trade Organization.

J. of Washington Government Inslee called Thursday’s decision 787 prod “insulting” and said the state would have to review the tax break Boeing continues to receive.

“I understand that serious market forces are the face of Boeing today,” said Inslee. “I don’t understand why the company can’t commit to restoring production when the market for this aircraft improves.”

In an afternoon news conference, Inslee said that he had several conversations with Boeing and gave no indication that the state could do anything to keep production at its disposal.

“If you hear voices for regulations, taxes, transportation, training, I can tell you that it’s a cot. Because the Boeing company never suggested any improvements we could make,” said Inslee.

However the Democrats said: “We can’t live in a situation where companies just tell us and we just say, ‘Yes sir,’ and when they ask us to jump, we say ‘how high is.” We can’t do that. This is just not fair for our state. If anyone feels that it is divisive, I would suggest that it is responsible. “

Employees at Boeing’s plant in Everett, Washington, began building the 787 in 2007, outfitting a jetliner with a massive carbon composite torso for improved fuel efficiency.

The company had fusales manufactured in North Charleston, South Carolina, then shipped nationwide for assembly. In 2005 it opened the 787 Final Assembly Line in South Carolina, which largely chooses South Carolina for its anti-union culture following attacks by machinists in the Seattle area in 2005 and 2008.

“We are committed to helping Boeing – and large and small – grow and prosper businesses in our state,” South Carolina Government. Henry McMaster said on Thursday. “Today’s announcement is a testament to our hardworking people, and the fact that companies know they can have long-term success in South Carolina.”

Boeing announced this summer that it was studying the possibility of combining all 787 production at a single location, and the new South Carolina plant soon emerged as the favorite. Workers in Everett will continue to make the 787-8 and 787-9 models, as long as they reduce production to six 787s a month next year, the company said.

Lawmakers and union officials in Washington state said Boeing was wrong to leave skilled aerospace employees working on 787 employees in the state. Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees at Aerospace, said “the marketing of the aerospace talent pool Boeing is moving away from Boeing to partner with community stakeholders to attract aerospace jobs to the state.”

Paul Shearon, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, called the decision “bad news for organized labor”, saying “workers in South Carolina will be taken advantage of, and will be used to drive down wages and benefits.” Number of workers in the Seattle area. “

In August, Boeing grounded eight 787s after structural problems, where fuselage panels have joined another company’s building in South Carolina. Sharon said confidence in Boeing would be lowered, trying to overcome two catastrophic accidents already smaller than the 737 Max.

“They need to build trust in the company and confidence in the product with the American Flying Public,” he said.

Democratic US Rep. Rick Larsen, whose district also includes Everett, said he would once fight to bring back 787 production to Washington to remove aerial rebels.

“The strengths of the Pacific Northwest’s aviation and aerospace industry include the region’s strong education system, trained workforce, strong supply chain, extensive manufacturing experience and overall quality of life,” Larsen said. “We have earned and will continue to earn our place as leaders in the American aerospace industry.”


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