NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Boeing is reportedly consolidating 787 Dreamliner production to the Lowcountry.
The Wall Street Journal published a report on Tuesday saying the company, which designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, will end production of that jetliner in Washington state in favor of North Charleston.
In July, we reported that Boeing was studying whether to consolidate production to just one facility as it faces financial challenges connected to the coronavirus pandemic.
“To bolster our near-term liquidity, we suspended our dividend, terminated our share repurchasing program, reduced discretionary spending and overhead costs, and issued $25 billion in new debt,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun in a letter to employees over the summer.
He said these steps helped the company navigate the pandemic but said it does not change the different commercial marketplace. “We must change with it,” said Calhoun.
Boeing said then the next steps for the company include slashing the Dreamliner rate and consolidating production to one plant – meaning it would be between North Charleston and Washington.
News 2 reached out to a Boeing South Carolina representative, Libba Holland, about the Wall Street Journal’s report. Holland said a consolidation study was announced in July to see whether consolidating production would be beneficial.
“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,” said Holland in a July statement. “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.”
Holland said the results of that study have not yet been released and that there was no timeline for when that will happen.
News 2 asked Governor Henry McMaster about the possible move during a press conference in Columbia on Tuesday. “We’ll talk about that announcement when it’s official,” he said in response.