Everett will get a second 787 line, briefly
Boeing does plan a second 787 line in Everett — a makeshift, temporary one that will be replaced by the future factory in Charleston.
Times aerospace reporter
Everett is indeed getting a second 787 final-assembly line — although a makeshift, temporary one — as part of Boeing's plan to create a parallel site in Charleston.
In an intricate plan fraught with risk, Boeing will build a new line in Everett to handle a planned surge in production as the initial 787-8s begin to roll out in volume and the still-in-design 787-9 derivative comes down the pipeline.
In two or three years, Boeing will phase out the temporary line as it shifts that work to South Carolina.
The company won't say yet how soon the line will begin operating or how many workers it may hire in Everett for that line.
The existing 787 line has between 800 and 1,000 production workers.
The plan underscores the pressure facing Boeing to start churning out significant numbers of the pioneering composite-plastics jetliner, which has racked up 840 orders but is more than two years late getting off the ground.
To push production beyond the existing line's monthly capacity of seven 787s, Boeing says this second line in Everett will roll out three Dreamliners a month.
Establishing the temporary line will mean rejiggering current arrangements inside the cavernous Everett building.
To free up a bay, Boeing will move the 767 final-assembly line — which may become an Air Force tanker line if Boeing wins that contest — to the back of the building, where a new door is being built for the 767s to exit at the rear.
That was the plan Boeing had prepared at least a year ago in case Everett was picked for the second 787 line.
Now this arrangement will be temporary.
Instead of tearing up the floor and putting all the hydraulics and power lines under it, as was done when the first 787 assembly bay was constructed nearby, Boeing will make do with leaving all the utilities above ground.
Then, in a couple of years, that surge line will be replaced by the Charleston line, said 787 spokeswoman Yvonne Leach.
Setting up a new line in Everett, however temporary, will bring challenges and introduce a risk of delays if it doesn't run smoothly.
That's in addition to the risks attached to opening a permanent second 787 line in Charleston in a brand-new site with a largely inexperienced work force.
Boeing Vice President Doug Kight said the goal is to have the Charleston facility up and running by 2011, with the first airplane rolling out in 2012.
By 2013, Boeing plans to produce seven 787s a month in Everett and three a month in Charleston, Kight said.
All of the larger 787-9s will be made in Everett.
Dominic Gates (206) 464-2963 firstname.lastname@example.org
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