Boeing officially announces plan to move 787 production out of Everett by mid-2021

Sep 29, 2020, 10:20 PM | Updated: Oct 1, 2020, 8:43 am

Boeing 787...

A Boeing 787 at the company's facility in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)

(AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)

After reports that Boeing planned to move its 787 Dreamliner assembly line out of Everett and consolidate its operations in South Carolina, the company has now made the decision official.

SnoCo Council Chair: Boeing move significantly hurts local economy

According to a press release sent out Thursday morning, the company believes the move will help “preserve liquidity and reposition certain lines of business in the current global environment to enhance efficiency and improve performance for the long-term.”

“Today’s decision does not change our commitment to Washington state,” CEO Dave Calhoun noted in an email sent to employees, with the company stressing that Puget Sound production of the 737, 747, 767, and 777 planes will continue across facilities in Everett and Renton.

The company expects the move to be completed by mid-2021. This effectively eliminates all 787 Dreamliner production and assembly in the Puget Sound region.

Reports of the move first surfaced late Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers released a statement on Boeing’s decision Wednesday, saying that he is “deeply disappointed,” especially in the midst of job losses brought on by the ongoing pandemic.

“COVID-19 has pushed our economy into unwelcome and uncharted territory, and this is another blow,” Somers said.

The company said over the summer it was looking at options for ways to potentially consolidate the 787 production lines in Everett and South Carolina into just one line.

In August, Boeing abruptly instructed airlines to pull eight of its 787s from service, after manufacturing defects were found in their fuselages. The defects could have caused the fuselage to fail in flight.

Boeing pulls eight 787s with structural defects

All of the sections where the suspected problems arose were manufactured in South Carolina. The sections were flown to Everett for final assembly.

There was word that the shimming issue had been a long-term problem at the South Carolina plant. And it was a key point when considering a consolidation.

KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan contributed to this report.

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