| NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina
NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina Dec 19 Boeing
Co is close to hitting its production target of building
10 of its high-tech 787 Dreamliner jets a month, a top Boeing
executive said on Thursday.
"It's the fastest we've ever gone on any airplane," said
Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South
A 787 entered production at the new rate on Nov. 14, Boeing
said, but has not been completed.
Hitting the target would put Boeing on track to deliver at
least 60 planes this year, Jones said. It has delivered 54
through November, despite a halt to deliveries for three months
earlier this year because of overheating batteries.
Hitting the target also puts Boeing closer to its next goals
of building 12 787s a month by mid-2016 and 14 a month by
approximately 2019, Jones said.
Final assembly of the airplane takes place in North
Charleston and at the company's huge factory in Everett,
Washington. The aft- and mid-body fuselages for all 787s are
made in North Charleston.
The South Carolina facility will begin commercial production
of Boeing's larger 787-9 model, which is being tested, next
fall, Jones said.
"We want Seattle to wring out all the issues and bugs like
we would any airplane because they have the smarts, they have
the sophistication. Once they do that, we'll be ready" to start
Boeing also will announce in the first quarter of 2014 where
it will build it planned "stretch" 787-10, now on the drawing
board, Jones said.
The South Carolina facility will build its aft- and mid-body
fuselages, and speculation has centered on South Carolina to
assemble the final airplane because the fuselage might be too
big to fit on Boeing's large cargo plane, called the
With modifications, "there's a possibility that it could get
on there," Jones said, referring to the Dreamlifter.
This year, Boeing's South Carolina plant has expanded its
aft- and mid-body factories, added an information technology
center and an engineering design center, and has broken ground
on a propulsion center. Boeing research and technology has added
a manufacturing technology center in North Charleston.
"We won't have to rely on Seattle as much," Jones said.
Boeing has about 6,700 employees in South Carolina, he said.
The North Charleston facility has about 400 engineers, said Dan
Mooney, vice president of engineering for Boeing South Carolina,
who relocated from Seattle.
Last week, Boeing leased 468 more acres in North Charleston
to add to its current campus of 264 acres. The company plans a
new paint facility on part of the acreage but has not said what
it will build on the rest.
"We do not have any other plans (for the land)," Jones said.
"There's no plan on the side or in secret."