Boeing Co. will set plans this week to consolidate 787 Dreamliner assembly in South Carolina, people familiar with the matter said, ending production of that jetliner in Washington state as the coronavirus pandemic saps demand for aircraft.
The decision carries significant implications for the Seattle-area economy and Boeing’s unionized workforce around Puget Sound. It wasn’t clear over what period of time the consolidation would play out, or how many employees might be affected by the move. Boeing could announce the plans as soon as this week, some of the people familiar with the matter said.
Boeing said in July that it was studying options to handle a slowdown in demand for the 787 that has led it to reduce production. A Boeing spokesman declined to comment late Tuesday on the study’s outcome.
Earlier this year, Boeing said it would slash production of passenger jets and cut its workforce by about 10%. As the pandemic worsened in the U.S. and air-travel demand remained deeply depressed, Boeing said it was weighing cuts beyond the 19,000 already earmarked.
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Boeing has assembled the 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Wash., since the first of the popular widebodies rolled off the line there over a decade ago. It announced plans in 2009 for a second line in North Charleston, S.C., a right-to-work state where attempts to unionize the workforce haven’t succeeded.
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