Thousands Gather To Witness Historic Moment
The first Dreamliner to be assembled in South Carolina rolled out of final assembly late last week to great fanfare from the crowd of nearly 7,000 Boeing employees and invited guests. The festival-like atmosphere, featuring aerial displays, music and entertainment, was a fitting celebration to commemorate assembly completion of the first 787 built at the North Charleston, SC, facility.
The airplane's rollout marks the first time that a Boeing commercial airplane has been produced in the Southeastern United States. "This is a proud moment for Boeing as we roll out an airplane from our third final assembly site," said Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive officer, Commercial Airplanes. "Today I welcome the South Carolina team into a small and elite fraternity – a fraternity of workers who have built one of the most complex machines in the world – a commercial airplane."
Boeing announced that it had selected North Charleston, SC, as the location for the second 787 final assembly line on Oct. 28, 2009, and broke ground on the site in November of that year. The South Carolina final assembly facility was completed in June 2011, and production began later that same month. "Every one of our South Carolina teammates should be extremely proud of this historic accomplishment," said Jack Jones, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager. "This team has shown that we can build airplanes in South Carolina that meet the high Boeing quality standards, and do so with an exceptional workplace safety record."
The airplane next goes to the flight line, where it will go through systems checks and engine runs in advance of taxi testing and first flight. The airplane remains on schedule for delivery to Air India in mid-2012. "We'll celebrate today, and tomorrow we begin the process of getting the airplane ready for delivery to our Air India customer," said Jones. "What this team continues to achieve is remarkable, and is the result of the team's energy and dedication, as well as the great partnerships with the Boeing enterprise, Commercial Airplanes, the 787 Dreamliner program, our suppliers, local community and the state of South Carolina. It's the outstanding support we've received from each one of these groups that has made this day possible."
Boeing South Carolina also has responsibility for fabrication, integration and assembly of the 787's midbody and aftbody fuselage sections. Once complete, the fuselage sections are either delivered to the South Carolina Final Assembly facility, or transported via the Dreamlifter to Final Assembly in Everett, WA. (Pictured: SC Dreamliner during assembly)