Boeing delivers first S.C.-built Dreamliner
Boeing officially handed over the first locally assembled 787 Dreamliner to Air India Friday morning in a cheery ceremony at the North Charleston campus delivery center.
The aerospace giant’s top executive in South Carolina and main salesman for India were joined by an Air India board member and pilot to sign the papers and cut the red ribbon.
With the milestone reached, Jones pronounced the Boeing South Carolina plane-building “cycle complete.”
“Airplane built, airplane flown, and today, with two big exclamation points, airplane delivered,” he said to an audience of a few dozen Boeing employees and local media.
K.M. Unni, who sits on the board of the government-owned airline and is its acting chief operating officer, said the 787 is “very important” to Air India’s plan to return to profitability.
The national carrier ordered 27 Dreamliners in 2005 and expected to get the first plane in 2008. But that didn’t happen until last month. The first S.C.-built jet is Air India’s third Dreamliner.
“We have waited enough, but I think it is worth the wait,” Unni said.
Air India pilots plan to fly the red, white and gold 787 away from Charleston on Monday between 2 and 3:30 p.m.
Two more Air India Dreamliners sit parked on the North Charleston flight line, and another is due back from painting in Texas this weekend, according to Jones.
For more on today’s delivery, check back at postandcourier.com and in Saturday’s newspaper.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.