Boeing to assemble 787-10 Dreamliner at North Charleston facility

EVERETT, Wash. (WCIV) - Boeing announced Wednesday that its North Charleston facility will handle final assembly of the 787-10 Dreamliner.

Design of the new Dreamliner is currently underway in Washington, officials said, and final assembly is expected to start in 2017.

Officials said the 787-8 and 787-9 will continue to be built in North Charleston and Everett, Wash.

"We looked at all our options and found the most efficient and effective solution is to build the 787-10 at Boeing South Carolina," said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager, 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This will allow us to balance 787 production across the North Charleston and Everett sites as we increase production rates. We're happy with our growth and success in South Carolina, and the continued success at both sites gives us confidence in our plan going forward."

According to Boeing, the 787-10 is 18 feet longer than the 787-9, making it too long to be transported from North Charleston to Everett.

Vice President and General Manager of Boeing South Carolina Jack Jones said the news was a good thing for the site and the community as well as all Boeing employees at the facility, calling it "a milestone decision in the future of our growing South Carolina presence."

Gov. Nikki Haley applauded the decision.

"The success that Boeing South Carolina has become in less than five years is a testament to the Boeing leadership and above all, the Boeing employees whose talent and dedication make all of us so proud. It truly is another great day in South Carolina," she said in a release.

However, not everyone is happy with the decision. The machinists union in Washington said it was disappointed with Boeing's decision.

"While we are not surprised, we are certainly disappointed to see Boeing make this decision. Our members in Puget Sound have proven they are Boeing's best choice for success to meet production, quality and delivery expectations on every airplane program," said District President Jon Holden. "If I could send one message to our members today, it would be this: Be proud of all you accomplish. Hold your heads high. And remember: We cower to no one."

Closer to home, both the mayor of North Charleston and state Rep. Chip Limehouse say they expected this announcement considering the airport authority recently approved the purchase of 400 acres of property.

"The statement that Boeing is making by bringing this to North Charleston is nothing but accolades for our work force. To make a decision that this is going to be the exclusive place that it's going to be built says that they have faith in the employees that we have today and the employees that we can generate for the future," said Mayor Keith Summey.

Summey said this proves to the people saying North Charleston's facility would not be able to compete with Washington's workforce. Limehouse says the announcement means more jobs and more training opportunities at Trident Technical College.

"We're transitioning our economy here in the low country to a high tech economy. We're offering high paying jobs, high skilled jobs and we want South Carolinians to take these jobs," he said.

The 787 production system includes three production lines: two in Everett and one in South Carolina. The integrated production system currently operates at a production rate of 10 airplanes per month. As announced last year, the 787 production rate will increase to 12 airplanes per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade.

Since its launch in June 2013, the 787-10 has won 132 orders from six global customers, Boeing officials said.