KEARNEY COLUMN: Haley visits Boeing: Air India stalls on planes
Afew notable Boeing-related odds and ends never made it out of my notebook last week, so here's a quick round-up (and look ahead).
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Gov. Nikki Haley visited the North Charleston 787 Dreamliner complex Tuesday for the first time since the first plane rolled out in April; she had said she'd be back for the first delivery, but there were no elected officials in attendance when that eventually happened in October.
She toured all three main factories over the course of an hour and a half, chatting with workers and a group of students visiting from nearby Morningside Middle School. Among other topics, she talked to her hosts about was the recent hack of the S.C. Department of Revenue.
“They get hacked constantly,” she said of Boeing. “The best people to learn from are the businesses.”
Meanwhile, Air India was scheduled to take its second 787 from the plant in October, but that didn't happen, and the only sign of progress in recent weeks has been a series of test flights.
Asked about the latest lull, Boeing South Carolina's top executive Jack Jones implied it was up to the government-owned carrier to decide when the next plane leaves North Charleston for good.
There were three painted planes on the campus flight line as of last week, and with just two weeks left in the year, it's anyone's guess how many will be gone by 2013. Boeing traditionally takes off the last week of every year.
As of last week, it had been more than a month since Boeing had rolled a new plane out of its final assembly facility. But Jones said the factory is working at an 18-day rate. That led to speculation that Boeing had opened up more positions in its massive final assembly building — it was only using roughly five of the eight stations — or was storing a finished plane inside. But spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said that isn't the case and clarified that the 18-day rate refers to manufacturing days.
“With weekends, holidays, etc., it works out to approximately one month,” Eslinger said in an email. “We are on track as we progress to full production rates of 10 midbody and aftbody sections, and three 787s in Final Assembly, per month at Boeing South Carolina.”
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906.