Boeing Moving All 787 Production Away From Seattle Area, Possibly Costing 1,000 Jobs

Christel Deskins

Topline The massive Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, touted by Boeing as the largest building in the world, could soon be half-empty, as the company announced Thursday that all production of 787 Dreamliner aircraft would be consolidated at its South Carolina facility, in the latest heavy blow to be dealt […]

Topline

The massive Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, touted by Boeing as the largest building in the world, could soon be half-empty, as the company announced Thursday that all production of 787 Dreamliner aircraft would be consolidated at its South Carolina facility, in the latest heavy blow to be dealt to the Seattle-area factory during the coronavirus pandemic.

Key Facts

All production of 787 aircraft will now move to North Charleston, South Carolina, by mid-2021, according to a company estimate.

Boeing laid off around 10,000 workers at the Everett facility over the summer, as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant drop in air travel that has, in turn, resulted in production cuts.

This latest announcement will mean around 1,000 jobs lost in Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee said, and Boeing said in a news release that it “is assessing potential impacts to employment.”

By 2022, Boeing plans to end 747 jumbo jet production, leaving its 767 and 777X lines, both of which are in low production, as the only ones left at the Everett factory.

The South Carolina factory is a non-union facility, while there is a union to represent Everett workers.

Critical Quote

“While Boeing’s versatile 787 family has outperformed other widebody airplanes during the challenging market downturn, its production system has been adjusted to accommodate the current difficult market environment while positioning the 787 family to ramp up production as air travel increases,” Boeing said in a news release.

Key Background

Boeing has taken a hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic, like much of the air industry. But the aerospace behemoth was already reeling before the pandemic struck, since its 737 MAX aircraft were grounded starting in March 2019 after deadly crashes brought their safety into question. Production of 787 planes have taken place at the Everett factory since 2007, before also starting up production at the South Carolina facility in 2010. The massive Everett facility at one point employed around 30,000 highly-paid workers, according to The Seattle Times

What To Watch For

There are no plans at this point to replace the production lost at the Everett facility from the move of 787 production. There’s speculation 737 MAX production, which resumed this spring, could be moved from Renton, Washington, to the larger factory in Everett, but there is no official indication that move might happen.

Big Number

$1.4 billion. That’s how much Boeing saved from 2014-2019 thanks to tax breaks the state enacted for 787 production, according to The Seattle Times.

Further Reading

Boeing Resumes 737 MAX Production After Announcing Over 12,000 Job Cuts (Forbes)

Boeing leaders meet Thursday to decide fate of Everett’s 787 line (The Seattle Times)

With 787 FAL closing and 747 production ending, what does Boeing do with massive space in Everett? (Leeham News and Analysis)

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