Boeing has ceased operations at its plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, to allow workers to comply with a mandatory evacuation order issued at noon on Tuesday, ahead of an approaching hurricane. The company has also flown several 787s from Charleston to Everett, Washington, near the site of Boeing’s West Coast widebody assembly plant to avoid likely damage from the expected winds.
Forecasters expect Hurricane Florence, now packing 130-mile-per-hour winds, to make landfall on the East Coast of the U.S. late Thursday night or early Friday near the border of North and South Carolina.
Boeing would not offer an estimate for the length of time it expects operations to remain suspended. “We will resume operations once it is safe to do so,” it said in a statement.
The storm comes as Boeing continues to grapple with supplier bottlenecks affecting both its 737 and 787 production lines. Deliveries of 787s from Everett and Charleston totaled 16 in July and August, while production rates stand at an average of 12 per month. The company plans to increase Dreamliner production next year to 14 per month.