Boeing 787 production continuing in SC

BRUCE SMITHAssociated Press

{}CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - Airplane production continues normally at Boeing's South Carolina 787 assembly plant although federal authorities have grounded planes now in service while onboard batteries are checked.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the jetliners following battery fires on two planes flown by Japanese carriers.

A spokeswoman for Boeing said Thursday that production continues at the company's North Charleston assembly plant employing about 6,000 workers.

She said she could not comment further but referred to a statement the company released. In that statement Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said the 787 is safe and the company will take every needed step to assure the public of the safety of the plane.

Four 787s made in South Carolina are in service. There have been no problems reported with the batteries in those planes.

On Thursday afternoon, Boeing issued the following statement:

"The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.

"Boeing is committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of The Boeing Company to assist.

"We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.{} We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service.

"Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers."