Jan 22 Boeing Co is hiring contract
workers at its factory in South Carolina as it boosts output of
the 787 Dreamliner and seeks to avoid manufacturing issues
linked to the production increase, according to people familiar
with the situation.
Boeing confirmed on Wednesday that it is hiring at the
facility but declined to provide details.
The company was responding to a Wall Street Journal report
that said the aircraft maker is adding about 300 contract
mechanics and inspectors at its North Charleston facility.
The Journal said the contractors were needed in part to
avoid production issues with 787 body sections made at the
factory that could slow overall output of the high-tech plane.
Boeing said the hiring was part of its effort to increase
production, a move that has cheered investors and helped send
the company's stock price sharply higher.
"The 787 production system is ramping up to historically
high rates for a wide-body program and introducing a second
family member, the 787-9," Boeing said in a statement.
"It's not unexpected that this would cause a temporary surge
Boeing assembles the carbon-fiber composite 787 at lines in
North Charleston, South Carolina, and Everett, Washington. The
South Carolina facility, which is not unionized, also makes body
sections for the lines. Workers in Everett, who are represented,
have previously raised quality concerns as the production rate
Boeing said its 787 program has been operating at a rate of
10 jets per month, double the production rate in 2013.
The company said it has "a solid plan" to continue improving
"While we have some challenges to address, we see no risk to
the program's ability to meet its commitments," Boeing said.
Two people familiar with the increased hiring said
production increase had prompted some quality-control concerns.
One of these people, who is familiar with a recently hired
inspector, said Boeing was using multiple staffing agencies to
find workers and needs people "badly and quickly."
Boeing is "trying to produce the planes more quickly so
there's more errors," said the person, who asked not to be named
out of concern that speaking publicly could affect employment.
Boeing is working through has a record order book of more
than 5,000 planes, including 916 787s.
Both sources said some workers are moving from defense
operations to work on the 787.
The South Carolina plant is due to reach a production rate
of three jets a month by mid-year, Boeing has said.