Boeing is set to announce the end of the assembly of 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, consolidating the final stages of the production of the plane in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The company’s intentions were revealed by the Wall Street Journal, who referred to insiders “familiar with the matter”. According to the newspaper, the decision carries significant implications to the economy in the Seattle area, as the Dreamliner assembly line was the most prominent one in Everett production facility.
The factory, placed north of Seattle, is one of the most iconic aircraft production facilities, built in the 60s specifically for the assembly of the Boeing 747. It houses the largest building in the world by volume and employs over 30,000 people.
The decision would greatly reduce its aircraft output and can cut the workforce by at least a third. Sap in the demand of 787s was cited as one of the motivators behind the consolidation. South Carolina was likely chosen because much of the airplane’s fuselage is assembled there, as well as due to its lower production costs, as workers there are not unionized.
According to Seattle Times, Everett’s representative Rick Larsen called Boeing’s decision “shortsighted and misplaced”, and promised to try to bring the production back as the demand for long-haul aircraft returns.
The possibility of consolidation was raised by Boeing back in July 2020, along with plans to reduce the workforce even further.
Recently, 787 Dreamliner was plagued by a slew of production issues, adding to the dire situation of Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.