WSJ: Boeing to move Dreamliner assembly to South Carolina

According to the Wall Street Journal, Boeing is expected to announce official plans to move all Dreamliner assembly from Everett to South Carolina.

Prior to the report, it wasn’t clear when the move would happen for the company. The move to South Carolina, according to those who worked with the company and an aerospace insider, comes as no surprise. 

Boeing was previously conducting a consolidation study to explore the feasibility of moving the 787 Dreamliner operations to Charleston.

The report says Boeing is expected to announce plans this week.

The Dreamliner has been built in Washington for more than a decade and generates millions of dollars in economic impact for the region and the state.

Thousands of Boeing employees have already been laid off due to decreased demand for airliners in the commercial sector, and the possibility of moving the 787 production line to South Carolina could cost thousands more.

Boeing's Everett plant also builds 767s, any remaining 747s and the USAF KC-46 aircraft. 

The company has not made an official comment, but a Boeing spokesperson provided this statement to Q13 News on Tuesday:

“We will prudently evaluate the most efficient way to build airplanes, including studying the feasibility of consolidating 787 production in one location. We are engaging with our stakeholders, including the unions, as we conduct this study. We will take into account a number of factors and keep an eye on future requirements as we think through the long-term health of our production system. Boeing remains committed to Washington state and South Carolina. We understand that our employees have questions and we will communicate details, including any potential workforce impact, as soon as possible."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement on Wednesday:

“If the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, Boeing would be turning its back on the finest workers and the best place in the world to build airplanes. Washington state has supported the company with a well-trained workforce, a robust supply line, unparalleled infrastructure, world-class research institutions and the best business climate in America. If this report is true, it would force a review of that partnership, including a hard look at the company’s favorable tax treatment.

“While Washington would continue to have more than 70,000 aerospace employees, this move could jeopardize as many as 1,000 Washington jobs.

“We have asked the Boeing Company multiple times what it needs to keep 787 production in Washington. We’ve heard nothing back. Nor have we heard anything about how to restart this work when conditions improve. This move would signal an allegiance to short-term profits and Wall Street - not quality, safety and a vision for the future of the industry.

"Washington state remains the best place in the world to make airplanes. The Boeing Company still has a large presence here, amidst an innovative aerospace sector that includes some of the best workers anywhere and hundreds of businesses that are part of a high-quality supply chain. The future is here.

“I stand ready to work with the Boeing Company to keep production here, and with the workforce to ensure, regardless of outcome, that we keep a strong aerospace sector alive in Washington state."