Boeing To Move 787-9 Tail Work Out of Puget Sound

 - March 16, 2012, 12:09 PM
Boeing expects its Salt Lake City site to start building the first production horizontal stabilizer for the 787-9 "late this year." (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing has decided to move production of the 787-9 horizontal stabilizer from its development center in Seattle to Boeing Salt Lake City and Italy’s Alenia, the company announced yesterday during a stop on the 787 “Dream Tour” in Salt Lake City. Plans call for work to begin in Salt Lake City late this year and delivery of the first example during next year’s first quarter. Boeing has yet to determine the date for first delivery from Alenia, a Boeing spokesman told AIN.

Boeing anticipates no job loss in Washington’s Puget Sound region, said the spokesman, due to expectations that the Seattle Development Center will take on other projects following initial development of the 787-9’s tail sections. In fact, the company expects to increase the number of employees at its Salt Lake City site from 522 to 650, he said.

“In keeping with our current supply chain strategy, the development work for the 787-9 horizontal stabilizer is being conducted at our Advanced Developmental Composites facility in Seattle, including initial production, and our Boeing Salt Lake facility will do assembly and integration work for a majority of the initial production work,” said Boeing in a written statement. “We will then transition stabilizer production to Alenia and Boeing Salt Lake City for long-term production.

“This decision will enable Boeing to better leverage the company’s internal manufacturing capability and strengthen its ability to meet increasing production rates.

"Whenever it makes sense from either a financial or technology standpoint, we try to have more than one source for parts and assemblies. Some systems and assemblies are not good candidates for multiple sourcing due to their low production number and/or high cost, or due to intellectual property limitations. However, when it is possible we have a bias toward additional sourcing. Additional sourcing lowers risk and often drives better performance.”