EVERETT, WA—The Boeing Co. plans to stop building the 787 Dreamliner at its assembly plant here by mid-2021 and consolidate production of the jet at its factory in North Charleston, SC.
The move would leave the Everett factory with three wide-body jets to produce: the 777, 767 and 747. The first 777X delivery is targeted for 2022. That jet will be assembled on the existing 777 assembly line, rather than its own line. The 747 is scheduled to end production in 2022. The KC-46 tanker, a military derivative of the 767, is also built in Everett.
Some 900 people work on the 787 in the Puget Sound region; a majority work at the Everett plant. However, it’s too early to say how many will be affected by the decision. “We are developing a transition plan,” says Jessica Kowal, a spokeswoman for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We will work to minimize impacts…and communicate openly and transparently” with employees.
As of Aug. 31, Boeing has 470 unfilled orders combined for its 767, 747 and 777 series models out of Everett. In the same timespan, it has 381 orders for the 787s that can be built in either Everett or South Carolina, plus 145 orders for the 787-10 “stretch” version that only the South Carolina plant is equipped to build. For comparison, there are more than 4,000 unfilled orders for the mainstream 737 family of planes, which are assembled at the company’s plant in Renton, WA.
Because of market slowdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Boeing is slowing production to six 787s a month, down from 10 before and 12 before that.