The decision where to site the Boeing 777X Final Assembly Line–Everett (WA), where the current 777 is built, or Charleston (SC), where Boeing is rapidly acquiring land and shifting work from Washington–will boil down to tactical or strategic considerations, says the chairman of a suppliers trade group.
It’s 50/50 whether Washington will be selected, says J. C. Hall, chairman of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance. PNAA represents small- to medium suppliers in the Pacific Northwest, with concentration in Puget Sound around the Boeing plants in Everett and Renton.
We spoke with Hall today, with plans to post the interview tomorrow. But today The Wall Street Journal posted a story about this topic, so we’re advancing the posting. Jon Ostrower wrote:
Boeing is now evaluating using the South Carolina plant for both final assembly of the 777X and to build the jet’s new carbon-fiber composite wings, according to two industry officials briefed on Boeing’s development of the 777X. “South Carolina looks more and more promising.”
The South Carolina plant has had some hitches. Boeing initially planned to be building three 787s a month by the end of this year, but the new site wasn’t prepared to make that jump and the company now expects to build two to three 787s a month there by year-end. The Everett plant will build eight 787 a month by year’s end, relying further on its twin assembly lines. Boeing announced Wednesday it would accelerate total 787 production to 12 a month in 2016 and 14 a month before the end of the decade.
We’ve previously written that our market intelligence tells us Boeing Commercial Airplanes wants to build the 777X in Everett but that Boeing Chicago (i.e, headquarters) seems to favor Charleston.