Today is Boeing South Carolina’s big day: the much-scrutinized local plane-making operation is slated to roll out its first 787 Dreamliner. The jet’s debut this afternoon in North Charleston will make history, since it’s the first time Boeing has assembled a plane outside the Puget Sound region of Washington state since World War II. South Carolina is one of only three places on Earth that puts out wide-body commercial aircraft, and when the inaugural Dreamliner rolls out this afternoon, the world will be watching.
Morning: Media tour of Boeing South Carolina campus.
1 p.m.: 787 Rollout Ceremony procession
1:30 p.m.: 787 Dreamliner Rollout Ceremony. Guests will sit near the back Northwest-facing doors of the final assembly building. The main event, when the jet is rolled out through those doors, will be accompanied by community partner performances, commemorative videos and executive presentations, according to Boeing.
3:00 p.m.: Ceremony concludes
Who’ll be there?
More than 7,000 Boeing workers, contractors and invited guests including:
Top officials from Boeing, including Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh and Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager Jack Jones.
Elected officials, including Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint won’t be there because of a previous commitment, and all six of the state’s U.S. representatives will remain in Washington for a voting session, according to their offices.
Representatives from Air India, the South Asian national airline expected to take final delivery of the plane this summer.
Some attendees will park on the Boeing campus across International Boulevard from Charleston International Airport; some Boeing employees will park in an airport lot; and others will park near the Charleston Area Convention Center and be bused to the site. No roads will be closed, and there shouldn’t be any disruption to air travelers or the afternoon rush hour, according to Charleston County Aviation Authority Police Chief Al Brickell.
Mostly sunny, temperature in the low 80s during the rollout, and a 20 percent chance of rain.
2005: Vought Aircraft Industries and Global Aeronautica (a Vought-Alenia Aeronautica joint venture) begin construction of their 787 aft- and mid-body factories at Charleston International.
2009: In October, Boeing picks North Charleston as the site for its second 787 final assembly line and begins construction a month later.
2011: In April, the National Labor Relations Board brings a retaliation case against Boeing. The dispute was later resolved. In June, Boeing opens the final assembly building, and work on the first jet begins.
2012: In January, the North Charleston interiors factory begins production. In February, Boeing confirms an “incorrect shimming” issue originating in the North Charleston aft-body facility will require reviews and fixes. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh said the plane would roll out in mid-April and fly away in June.
2013: By the end of the year, the North Charleston plant is slated to make and deliver at least three Dreamliners per month.
About the plane
Appeal: The half-composite fuselage and design allows for a 20 percent less fuel burn than similar-sized planes, higher humidity, bigger windows and other passenger comforts. Called a “hub-buster,” the Dreamliner should allow more global point-to-point travel.
Specs: Depending on configuration, the twin-aisle 787-8 Dreamliner can seat 210 to 250 passengers. It is 186 feet long, with a 197-foot wingspan, and its maximum takeoff weight is 502,500 pounds. It cruises at Mach 0.85 and can fly 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles. (Planned 787-9 and 787-10 variants will carry more passengers and fly farther.)
Price: The list price of a 787-8 Dreamliner is $193.5 million, but airline customers who ordered early and in bulk, such as Air India, get a significant discount.