Boeing closes 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Remaining Boeing 787 production line in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: © Boeing

The US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced on Thursday that it intends to move the production of its 787 Dreamliner family entirely to South Carolina in 2021.

Boeing cites a drastically reduced demand for new long-haul aircraft due to the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the reasons for the move from its production site in Everett near Seattle to Charleston in South Carolina. Additionally, the company wants to “enhance efficiency and improve performance” of its commercial programs with the move to South Carolina.

Originally, the 787 Dreamliner was only being built in Everett, Washington, before Boeing opened another factory in South Carolina in 2012. Both locations combined produced up to 14 aircraft a month. In July 2020, the company first announced that it is studying a consolidation of its 787 Dreamliner production to one site. Since Boeing cannot build the largest member of the 787 family, the 787-10, in Everett due to size constraints, Charleston was the ideal location for that.

Production at its Everett facilities will slowly end in mid-2021 and will continue in Charleston at a rate of six aircraft per month. Boeing is quick to add that the production of its 737, 767, 777 and 747 (the last of which will be built in 2022) families will continue in the Seattle area.

There have been several reports of quality control issues at the Charleston factory, including manufacturing tools being left behind in parts of several aircraft and difficulties between the Boeing management and its workers at the not-unionized plant. Some see the lack of unions and worse working conditions as key reasons for Boeing to consolidate its 787 production in South Carolina.