By Scott Hamilton and Bryan Corliss
Oct. 1, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing is expected to announce as early as today that it will consolidate the 787 final assembly lines into one at its Charleston (SC) plant.
Reuters reported last week the decision to consolidate production in Charleston was made. The Wall Street Journal Tuesday night also reported this decision, saying the decision could be announced this week.
The Everett (WA) line is expected to close as production of the 787 falls below seven a month. Boeing previously announced the rate will fall from a peak of 14/mo to 6/mo by 2022.
With the closure of the 747 line in Everett slated for 2022, this will open huge bays in Everett. Nearly half the world’s largest building by volume will be empty. Given lower production rates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 777 lines will be woefully underutilized.
Overhead costs probably can’t be absorbed by the remaining low-rate production 767/KC-46A and 777 lines. Boeing warned in its 2Q2020 10Q SEC filing that the 787 and 777 lines face a forward loss depending on production rates of other lines.
With no New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) being contemplated to fill the empty bays, what can Boeing do to utilize these massive spaces and retain profitability of Everett?
A radical solution is moving the 737 line from Renton to Everett. This means Renton would close well before the 2033 date LNA predicts and selling off the property for commercial development.