Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boeing Looking More Seriously at 2nd 787 Final Asembly Line

In an interview with reporters Mike Mecham, Guy Norris and Jens Flottau, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney gave the strongest indication that Boeing will go ahead with a 2nd production line for the 787. According to the Aviation Week article the decision may come as early as late this year with an year of starting operations in late 2010 when work on the 787-9 will be expected to get underway.

Aviation Week cites sources as saying that the second line announcement can come very soon and that North Charleston, SC has been chosen as the sight of the 2nd final assembly line. North Charleston does have the advantage of being nonunion as well as the locale for current 787 assembly activities done by Global Aeronautica (main fuselage integration) and Vought (rear fuselage fabrication and integration) as well established logistics capabilities and plenty of land to build a final assembly building near the current Vought and GA facilities. Boeing would have to only fly in the forward fuselage from Wichita and the wings from Japan (not counting the structures from Alenia in Italy and the structures from Fuji and Kawasaki in Japan that will go into the GA site as it currently does).

Predictably the Boeing Unions in Everett (SPEEA and IAM 751) are not happy at the prospect and they may have even more reason to worry in my opinion. If Boeing goes ahead with a South Carolina assembly plant, they could add enough space at that plant to possibly shift all 787 final assembly from Everett and there would be nothing that IAM or SPEEA could do about it especially if the new final assembly line is more efficient than the Everett line.

Aviation Week's 787 Second Line Article


Anonymous said...

If they wish to cripple the company, probably fatally, then they should move.

Now, do any of the interviewers have any idea of the staggaring costs associated with such a scratch effort?

I think not.
If McNerney doesn't grasp it, then Boeing will be trading in the single digits sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Cripple the company - please.

Building a new line with a more productive work force in a business-friendly environment is the best thing Boeing could do. The Seattle union shot their bullet last year and it will prove to rest in their own head.

Maybe Boeing struggles with the design of a composite aircraft and the repeated delays are a sign of a poor development process, but any company can accurately estimate the cost of a new line. Their decison will be based on firm financials and if they choose to move the South Carloina it will be profitable.

Jay in Kitsap said...

If a 2nd line opens I think the first line is safe up until the backlog of 787's is satisfied sufficiently to only need 6 or 7 per month. At that time Everett could be shifted to either the 737NG or 777

Anonymous said...

The second post shows the level of ignorance on your part. There is nothing about the site in South Carolina that is productive and that site is the single biggest threat to the entire 787 program. If you want to be anti union ok. But at the very least know what your talking about. The even bigger issue is the lack of competence in the leadership of the company. It is refreshing to see our customers and other outsiders realizing what those inside the company have known for a long time.

Anonymous said...

This last comment is obviously a biiter Boeing employee who is now realizing the errors of treating good paying jobs as an entitlement rather than something to be earned on a daily basis.

Only a very naive person would think that you couldn't set up a better manufacturing facility from scratch a get good people particularly in this economy. It is your union-only mentality that has led you down the dead-end street you find yourself in. Get your head out of the sand.

Airlines are cancelling orders years out. When the economy turns and this airplane is flying, the orders will fill right back up because the economics of the plane make it a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

Actually if the 5th post think they are correct then they are wrong. The whole 787 program has been a threat to itself, with Boeing being it's biggest threat. Too many changes have been incorporated into the structure and the suppliers are unable to keep up with Boeing's continous changes. Both of the plant's in Charleston, struggle to keep up.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the previous post is from a General Motors employee as opposed to a Boeing employee. Too much inbreeding makes the employees oblivious to outside threats and challenges. Fortunately the board looked outside for the current CEO. Sounds like they shouldn't stop there.

Look at all the other manufacturers located in countries like Brazil, Canada and Russia building larger aircraft and improving their skills. If you think that only Boeing in Seattle can do things right then you will be part of the next group to go to Washington for a bailout.