Boeing Picks South Carolina for New Dreamliner Plant

Unions not happy with decision

Boeing has chosen the state of South Carolina as the location for a second production line for the troubled 787 Dreamliner long-haul jet, a move slammed by a union leader.

The move "will expand our production capability to meet the market demand for the airplane," Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement late Oct. 28.

"This decision allows us to continue building on the synergies we have established in South Carolina with Boeing Charleston and Global Aeronautica," he said, the latter being a company 50% owned by Boeing.

Boeing's South Carolina plant already assembles and installs parts of the 787 fuselage sections. Almost all Boeing planes are manufactured at its Everett plant outside Seattle, Washington.

Delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner -- to Japanese launch customer ANA -- is now set for late 2010, more than two years behind schedule.

The company said that until the second assembly line is brought up to speed, Boeing will "establish transitional surge capability" in Everett that will be phased out once South Carolina comes on line.

The move to South Carolina puts employees there out of the reach of the union in Washington state that has had several contentious labor disputes in recent decades with Boeing management. Union leader Tom Wroblewski slammed the move across the country, saying Boeing "has betrayed our loyalty once again, walking away from our discussions.

"Instead of investing in our shared future and a highly talented workforce in a region ideally suited for aerospace, Boeing has decided to double-down on its failed 787 strategy and place an ill-advised, billion-dollar bet on a strategy that's a proven loser," Wroblewski said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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