When a board member at the Charleston County Aviation Authority's monthly meeting turned the discussion to Boeing, the chairman and the airports director quickly hushed him.
Tim Mallard, also a Charleston city councilman, inquired whether Boeing Co. suppliers could qualify for incentives the authority hopes to use to attract new airlines in the wake of AirTran's departure.
"From what I hear we are going to have the opportunity for some job creation here by Boeing ... " Mallard began before authority chairman David Jennings cut in and told him to wait until closed session.
Boeing Co. plans to decide where to locate its second 787 Dreamliner assembly line within the next two weeks. Officials said yesterday that they had narrowed potential sites to North Charleston and Boeing's longtime home in Everett, Wash., near Seattle.
Mallard persisted, saying his comments pertained only to the incentives program.
"Suppliers for Boeing are going to start coming, and it will be more than one in the next year," he continued.
Jennings lost his patience.
"Tim, I've been as nice as I can," he said. "Let's keep this discussion, this is air service development. Nothing more, nothing less."
The board went on to approve an amendment to the lease for Boeing's existing factory off International Boulevard. The lease required changing because it originally was in the name of Vought Aircraft Industries, which made aft fuselage sections for the long-delayed Dreamliner. Boeing purchased Vought's local operation in a $1 billion deal in late July.
"This has nothing to do with what may or may not happen in the future," Jennings stressed.
When a board member asked earlier in the meeting if a consultant who works with the aviation authority to attract air carriers will also help with Boeing, Stevens said, "He will be."
But before going into the closed-door session both Jennings and Stevens declined to comment about Boeing. Both said they know nothing more than what they have read in the newspaper.