Boeing 787 Dreamliner to land in North Charleston
The jetliner that's poised to reshape the Charleston economy is two days away from touching down in the area for the first time.
Fresh from the Paris Air Show and other stops in Europe, Boeing Co.'s 787 is scheduled to make its local debut in North Charleston on Monday, the company announced Friday.
The Dreamliner is expected to land at Charleston International Airport around noon, said Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger. It will be flying in from Berlin.
"Our folks are so excited about it," Eslinger said.
The 787 was in Poland on Friday after a couple of days on display at the world's largest air exhibition in France, where The Associated Press reported that its arrival on Tuesday "caused a lot of neck craning by attendees."
Eslinger said the jet is scheduled to leave Wednesday. It is expected to spend a good portion of its stay inside Boeing's new 787 factory at the airport. The jet will not be open for public tours.
The plane was the first in the 787 fleet to be certified for test flights, Eslinger said.
South Carolina was thrust onto the global aviation stage in October 2009 when Boeing picked North Charleston as the site of a $750 million assembly plant for the long-delayed Dreamliner. The Lowcountry is joining a handful of locations worldwide where widebody commercial airplanes are manufactured.
All of the 787s that have rolled off the line to date have been assembled in Everett, Wash.
Customers have placed more 800 orders for the new jet, making it the fastest-selling aircraft in history. Boeing hopes to deliver the first 787 to customer All Nippon Airways of Japan as early as August, officials said at this week's air show.
Boeing is gearing up to start making the lightweight jets at its North Charleston campus in the next few weeks. The new plant will make up to three of the twin-engine passenger planes each month by 2013. Workers in Everett will turn out seven a month. The local plant is expected to employ about 3,800 employees. About 1,000 of those job already have been filled.
The local factory is now at the center of a closely watched labor lawsuit. The National Labor Relations Board sued Boeing in April, saying the company built its new 787 line in mostly nonunion South Carolina to punish union workers in Washington state who went on strike in 2008.
Boeing has denied that, saying the cost of the walkouts was one of several factors it considered. It has asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.