787 Dreamliner facility expected to open in N. Charleston in 2011 and begin production in 2012
Work on Boeing Co.'s massive 787 Dreamliner plant got under way Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by dozens of elected officials and hundreds of Boeing employees.
Jim Albaugh, Boeing's president of commercial airplanes, praised the local work force and said the aerospace giant's decision to expand in South Carolina "is going to be good for our competitiveness, it's going to be good for our company, it's going to be good for the country, and I think it will create jobs not just here in South Carolina but in Washington state."
The company last month chose North Charleston over Everett, Wash., for a second final assembly site for its 787 Dreamliner after the S.C. Legislature approved a massive tax incentives package.
The plant, expected to employ at least 3,800 workers, is being built near Boeing's existing factory at Charleston International Airport.
The roster of speakers at Friday's ceremony included the state's two U.S. senators, Republicans Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint; U.S. Congressmen Henry Brown, R-S.C., and Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.; as well as Gov. Mark Sanford.
The company's 584,000-square-foot aircraft assembly plant is scheduled to open in 2011 and begin producing three Dreamliner planes a month the following year.
The airplane maker said last month that it chose North Charleston over Everett because it best suited plans to boost production of the long-delayed jet, designed to carry up to 250 passengers.
Gov. Mark Sanford on Friday said Boeing's decision to locate in North Charleston also is a challenge to the state:
"A challenge to not rest on our laurels and instead redouble efforts to improve our state's business climate; a challenge to use this momentum to push through tough economic headwinds; and a challenge to capitalize on this renewed cooperation between political leadership in Columbia and hard-working citizens across the state to make South Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family."