Boeing is set to announce this week that it will consolidate all 787 Dreamliner production in North Charleston, S.C., stripping Everett of its most significant jet assembly line, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday evening.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, issued a statement saying that “Boeing’s decision to pull its 787 production out of Washington state is shortsighted and misplaced.”
The news will be a tremendous blow to Boeing’s Everett workforce.
It threatens to leave the largest building by volume in the world — housing Everett’s widebody jet final-assembly lines — almost an empty shell.
Just two low-rate active assembly lines would be left after 2022, building at most five 767 and 777 airplanes a month for several years, down from the 15 jets per month that Everett pumped out a year ago.
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said in a statement Wednesday morning that he is “concerned for every 787 employee or supplier who works in Everett.”
“COVID-19 has pushed our economy into unwelcome and uncharted territory, and this is another blow. But we are resilient. We have survived tough times before, and we will get through this,” Somers said.
Boeing had raised the possibility of consolidation at a single site in July because of reduced production during the COVID-19 pandemic. A decision had been expected as early as Thursday.
South Carolina was heavily favored to win because of lower costs, since much of the plane’s fuselage is assembled there. The state’s anti-union culture is another advantage in the eyes of the Boeing board.
In choosing to take the 787 away from Everett, the original assembly site, Boeing ignored pleas from local officials who lauded the Pacific Northwest as home to the best aviation and aerospace workforce in the world.
Larsen promised to try to bring the work back later.
“As the economy comes back and air travel returns, I will fight to bring 787 production back to Everett,” he said in a statement.
Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Kowal declined to confirm or deny The Journal story.
“Nothing has changed in what we’ve said,” Kowal responded when asked.
Several other members of the state’s congressional delegation also criticized the expected decision.
“For decades, talented and dedicated engineers, machinists and workers across our region proudly contributed their skills and ingenuity around the clock to power Boeing, our economy and this country to new heights,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, in a statement. “Quality, safety and overall success are all foolishly sacrificed when production moves to a region without this kind of expertise — made clear by safety lapses and ‘shoddy production’ at the North Charleston plant in 2019 and again last month when eight 787 jets were pulled from service after flaws were identified at the South Carolina factory.”
Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, said she was “deeply disappointed” by the expected move. “Washington state has been the home to Boeing and the world’s strongest aerospace community for decades. Our highly trained workforce, strong education pipeline, extensive supply chain, significant investment in aerospace innovation and infrastructure, and overall quality of life give our region a unique advantage in this sector, and that will continue.”