Boeing took another visible step toward full production of the 787 Dreamliner yesterday as it set the first steel column for its 787 final assembly and delivery facility in North Charleston, S.C.
Boeing Charleston currently fabricates, assembles and installs systems for 787 aft fuselage sections and joins and integrates midbody fuselage sections made by other partners. With the new 1.2-million-sq-ft building, Boeing will perform final assembly and deliver 787s from North Charleston to customers around the world. Construction of the new facility remains on schedule, and Boeing expects to begin production in July next year. The company plans to deliver the first 787 built at the new factory in the first quarter of 2012.
As it works toward opening the second 787 assembly line in North Charleston, Boeing plans to establish transitional “surge” capacity at its plant in Everett, Wash., to ensure the successful introduction of the 787-9, the first derivative model of the 787. Once it starts running the second line in Charleston, Boeing plans to gradually phase out the surge capability in Everett.
Boeing recently announced plans to raise production of the 787 from two to 2.5 a month starting in August. All told, it expects to build 10 Dreamliners a month by the end of 2013.