First SC-built 787 to be delivered tomorrow, fly away Saturday
After a summer of delays and uncertainty, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner built in South Carolina will be delivered to Air India Friday morning and will fly away on Saturday afternoon, a spokesman for the plane maker announced Thursday afternoon.
The milestone jet handover will be marked with a signing ceremony inside the North Charleston campus delivery center and then a ribbon-cutting beside the red, white and gold jet outside, Tim Deaton, the Boeing spokesman said.
Boeing’s top executive in South Carolina, its top salesman for India and a “small group” of local employees will represent the airframer, Deaton said. He did not know who would be on hand from Air India.
Perhaps due to the serial postponements, the ceremony, which will start around 8:30 a.m. and end around 10 a.m., will not be the sort of large-scale celebration that had been anticipated earlier this year. Deaton did not know which, if any, elected officials will be in attendance.
“It’ll be a low-key event,” Deaton said. “We won’t have a lot of speeches and things like that.”
When the inaugural locally assembled jet rolled out of the factory at the end of April, Boeing officials said it would be delivered by the end of June.
But the Indian government, which owns Air India, took months to approve the compensation agreement reached between Boeing and Air India over years of delivery delays. Air India eventually took the first two 787s of the 27 it ordered in 2005 last month.
The airline was scheduled to take the first S.C.-made jet, which has long been ready for pick-up, last week, but that didn’t happen. Deaton would not say when the new date — Friday — was reached.
“You know how these things go,” he said. “It goes when all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint that.”
Check back for more details on postandcourier.com and in Friday’s newspaper.