The last 787 Dreamliner, a -9 variant bound for the Japanese airline ANA, line number 1095, has been assembled. Coincidentally, ANA was also the first airline to take delivery of the new 787 back in 2011. Last October Boeing announced that it was shutting down 787 manufacturing in Everett, WA and moving the -8 and -9 variant production to North Charleston, SC, where the -10 variant is already being produced. According to an outside auditor, “Boeing will save an estimated $5 million per airplane in labor alone at its SC workforce which is not union and the cost of living in SC is significantly cheaper than in the Seattle area, where Everett is located, plus taxes are lower in SC” says Asher Greenberg. There are likely to be other cost savings as well by consolidating 787 production into one location, adds Greenberg.
The 787 wide body aircraft was a next generation twin jet long-haul airplane where composite materials such as carbon fiber make up more than 50% of the airplane creating an ultra-efficient long range jet for airlines that is more comfortable for passengers.
Meteorologist Jacob Markinson says “I can’t speak for the economics, but I can say that Boeing’s plant in SC is a mere 13 miles from the coastline. If a major hurricane were to strike Charleston and North Charleston like Hurricane Hugo did in 1989, it could cause problems for the facility. Hurricane Huge had winds of 160 mph and caused $11 billion in damage.”
According to Boeing, they have no planes to bring production back to Washington, especially since the monthly production rate in SC is below the facility’s capacity.