Boeing will consolidate Dreamliner production in South Carolina as demand drops


The Boeing Co. manufacturing facility stands in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Monday, May 4, 2020. Boeing is restarting its 787 operations at the plant for the first time since April 8, including all operations that were suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic, ABC News reported.

Sam Wolfe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Boeing on Thursday said it plans to consolidate its 787 Dreamliner production at its South Carolina facility next year, a bid to lower costs amid weak demand, marking a blow for its Seattle-area production hub.

Boeing in July said it would evaluate consolidating production lines for the widebody jets, which it currently has in both Everett, Washington, and North Charleston, South Carolina, a plant where the workforce isn’t unionized.

After the announcement, which was expected, Boeing’s shares were up 2.3%, off the day’s highs.

At that time, Boeing said it will further cut already-reduced production plans for the 787, a plane used often on international routes, which have been more affected than domestic travel in the pandemic. It would make six 787 per month next year from 10 because of the “ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic and the impact on our airline customers.”

Boeing announced the second production line for the 787 nearly 11 years ago and consolidating production there is the latest pain for Boeing’s workers and the economy around its Seattle-area production facilities. Boeing employs about 7,000 people in South Carolina and close to 70,000 in Washington state, according to its most recent counts.

The dismal aircraft market on top of the aftermath of two fatal crashes of its best-selling 737 Max prompted a wave of cost-cutting. Boeing earlier this year said it planned to reduce its 160,000-person workforce by 10%, warning this summer that further cuts are possible.

Boeing also plans to stop making the iconic 747 jetliner, which are also produced in Everett, in 2022.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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