NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Boeing is in the process of setting plans to move all assembly of the company’s 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The move would end production of the jetliner at its plant in Washington state, the paper reported.
WSJ reported there was not yet a clear timetable about when the changes would happen or how many employees would be affected.
Boeing spokesperson Libba Holland released the following statement on the report:
We will prudently evaluate the most efficient way to build airplanes, including studying the feasibility of consolidating 787 production in one location. We are engaging with our stakeholders, including the unions, as we conduct this study. We will take into account a number of factors and keep an eye on future requirements as we think through the long-term health of our production system. Boeing remains committed to Washington state and South Carolina. We understand that our employees have questions and we will communicate details, including any potential workforce impact, as soon as possible.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement on Wednesday on the reports that Boeing intends to move all 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina.
"If the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, Boeing would be turning its back on the finest workers and the best place in the world to build airplanes. Washington state has supported the company with a well-trained workforce, a robust supply line, unparalleled infrastructure, world-class research institutions and the best business climate in America. If this report is true, it would force a review of that partnership, including a hard look at the company’s favorable tax treatment.
"While Washington would continue to have more than 70,000 aerospace employees, this move could jeopardize as many as 1,000 Washington jobs.
"We have asked the Boeing Company multiple times what it needs to keep 787 production in Washington. We’ve heard nothing back. Nor have we heard anything about how to restart this work when conditions improve. This move would signal an allegiance to short-term profits and Wall Street - not quality, safety and a vision for the future of the industry.
"Washington state remains the best place in the world to make airplanes. The Boeing Company still has a large presence here, amidst an innovative aerospace sector that includes some of the best workers anywhere and hundreds of businesses that are part of a high-quality supply chain. The future is here.
“I stand ready to work with the Boeing Company to keep production here, and with the workforce to ensure, regardless of outcome, that we keep a strong aerospace sector alive in Washington state.”
Back in late July, Boeing released second-quarter profits that it said showed a continued “significant” impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft.
One of the actions the company said it would consider at that time was consolidation of 787 to a single location, either Everett, Washington or North Charleston.
The company announced in April it would reduce 787 production to only 10 planes per month, but in the July report, it said it was further reducing production to just six per month.
The report shows a 25% drop in second quarter revenue in 2020, compared with second quarter in 2019. It also reported a $5.3 billion drop in operating cash flow.
For the first half of 2020, Boeing reported $28.7 billion in revenues, a 26% drop compared with the first half of 2019.