Boeing officials cut ribbon on new delivery center

(Brian Troutman/WCIV)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's been 10 months in the making -- Boeing leaders cut the ribbon on their new delivery center Friday morning.

"Today we come together to celebrate another historic day at Boeing in South Carolina--the completion of the massive expansion project," said Marco Cavazoni, vice president and general manager of final assembly and delivery.

Boeing employees, standing on the tarmac as far as the eye could see, came out to watch the ribbon-cutting.The 58 thousand square foot building stands on what used to be knee-deep swamp land and will serve as the sales and customer service center for the 787 Dreamliner.

"Right now there are only two sites in the world that deliver white body commercial airplanes.{} now you have three," said Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina.Once the planes are complete, they will be parked on a pad next to the building where up to seven of the high-tech aircrafts will wait until the customer picks it up.

"We have 56 customers around the world, represented in just about every continent that will be flying our airplane," Jones said.

Six hundred tons of steel, 2,800 cubic yards of concrete, 42,000 square feet of exterior metal panels and 14,000 square feet of glass went into the building that was started on February 1 of this year.

"We've been a port city by water. Now we're a port city by air.," said state senator Glenn McConnell. "The world is coming here to pick up aircraft."

The facility has seven flight stalls and the first passenger boarding bridges to be used at a Boeing delivery center."This was a swamp and now it's probably the economic centerpiece of South Carolina," said state representative Chip Limehouse.

The South Carolina Final Assembly and Delivery facility will ramp up to produce three 787 Dreamliners per month by the end of 2013.