Boeing to move 787-9 tail work
SEATTLE -- Boeing Co. announced this week that production of the horizontal tail of the 787-9 will be moved beginning next year to a Boeing plant in Salt Lake City and to Alenia of Italy.
The news came on a visit by Boeing's 787 Dreamliner to Salt Lake City Thursday. The manufacturing methods for the 787-9 horizontal tail have been developed at its research center in Seattle.
A Boeing spokesman aid the decision will not mean any job losses in Puget Sound. Other work will be rotated in as the tail work moves out, he said.
Salt Lake City will gain more than 100 jobs by 2014, the spokesman said.
The 787-9 is the next, larger version of the Dreamliner, It is scheduled to enter service in early 2014 following the initial 787-8 model being built now in the Seattle area and North Charleston.
Alenia makes all the horizontal tails for the 787-8, but those parts produced many quality issues and resulted in significant delays to the program.
In fall 2010, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh said the company was "taking a very hard look at where the 787-9 tails should be built," and later announced that initial development work would be done at the Developmental Center beside Boeing Field in Seattle
The center is doing that work, as well as initial production of the 787-9 tail. The plan is to shift all assembly and integration work to Salt Lake City and Italy, said Boeing spokesman Doug Alder.
The first 787-9 horizontal tail will be delivered out of the Seattle facility in the 2012 fourth quarter, Alder said. The first one out of Salt Lake City will be delivered in the first quarter of next year.
Alder said no date has yet been set for the first 787-9 horizontal tail delivery out of Alenia.
The decision makes Salt Lake a key part of the 787 global supply chain.
Last July, Boeing opened a new assembly line in the Salt Lake City plant to produce the vertical tailfins for the 787 Dreamliners being built at Charleston International Airport. That move was part of a deliberate duplication of Washington state production -- in this case, for tailfins made near Tacoma -- to ensure continuity of supply in the event of any work disruption.
With the addition of the horizontal tail for the 787-9, Salt Lake will have both major pieces of the Dreamliner tail. Explaining why the work will be split with Alenia, Boeing said in a statement, "We try to have more than one source for parts and assemblies. When it is possible, we have a bias toward additional sourcing."