Another month, another Boeing expansion, but it’s certainly not ho-hum. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the Lowcountry won’t greet business-expansion news with glee.
Last week, Boeing confirmed that it plans to assemble engine components for its 737 MAX jetliner here. Its target date is June 2014. And the company anticipates more than doubling the size of the 220,000-square-foot building down the road.
For a state that still has a relatively high unemployment rate, despite progress on that score over the last two years, that is terrific news.
The new Boeing facility will be in addition to the local assembly of the 787 Dreamliner and the production of fuselage structures and interior components for the giant aircraft.
Further, Boeing will be concentrating more of its information technology work in North Charleston over the next few years, and it will establish new centers for commercial aircraft engineering design and propulsion here.
Boeing has been soliciting bids from real estate developers and landlords for the 737 MAX plant for about a month. The company has declined to say how many jobs will be created, but its Dreamliner-related facilities employ more than 6,000 workers at four factories in North Charleston, and the company recently announced it would invest another $1.1 billion and create 2,000 more jobs.
The investments are a clear indication that Boeing is pleased with its South Carolina operations.
State and local officials have put forth a lot of effort to entice Boeing here and keep it happy — tax breaks, money for land purchases and infrastructure work.
A London-based analyst, contacted by The Post and Courier, called the area “a centre for composite technology engineering excellence” and alluded specifically to the availability of capital, labor and infrastructure here.
The Lowcountry’s economy has benefitted — and will continue to benefit — from Boeing’s growing presence.
And it can — and does — take great pride in its partnership with the aerospace giant.
The company’s commitment to excellence should be a consistent incentive for excellence in our schools and colleges.
And its high profile should be an incentive for the Lowcountry to shine in the international spotlight Boeing attracts.