By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
Boeing eventually could ramp up its 787 production to 15 aircraft monthly with its facilities in Everett and South Carolina, said Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, on Wednesday.
But getting up to that rate would require an “investment on the part of the supply chain,” he said.
Boeing has yet to deliver its first 787, because of troubles with its global supply chain, which ship major 787 sections to Boeing’s final assembly line in Everett. A second line in North Charleston, S.C., will be complete this summer. Boeing has said it intends to increase production to 10 787s monthly by the end of 2013.
“There’s a demand for more than 10,” Albaugh said.
Albaugh spoke Wednesday at an event in Everett to commemorate the 1,000th 767 aircraft. That jet is the last 767 to be built in its original section of Boeing’s massive Everett factory.
Last year, Boeing began work to shrink the 767’s footprint in the factory, positioning the entire line at the back of the factory. The move was designed, in part, to accommodate a temporary “surge” line in Everett for 787 assembly. Boeing had said it would use the surge line until its second full 787 assembly line in North Charleston, S.C., is up to speed.
But that surge line could become an important permanent fixture in Boeing’s plan if the company bumps its rate to 15 787s each month. Increasing the 787’s rate over 10 aircraft monthly hinges on the Dreamliner’s supply chain.
“It’s more of a supply chain issue than a final assembly issue,” Albaugh said.
Boeing plans to deliver the first 787 to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the third quarter. The company has orders for 847 of its Dreamliner jets.