Boeing to break ground on new 737 MAX propulsion plant in North Charleston

Nicole Piasecki, vice president of Boeing Co.’s Propulsion Systems Division, is expected to speak at next week’s ground-breaking ceremony for a new North Charleston factory that supports the 737 MAX aircraft program.

Boeing will break ground Tuesday on its new jet propulsion plant in North Charleston where engine inlet components for the 737 MAX will be designed and assembled.

The site of the future factory is at 9775 Patriot Blvd. It’s behind Boeing’s Interior Responsibility Center in Palmetto Commerce Park, where workers make bins, partitions and other cabin parts for the 787 Dreamliner.

Engine inlet manufacturing is scheduled to start at the 220,000-square-foot factory in mid-2015 at the 48-acre site.

The company announced the new propulsion factory earlier this year. It will handle the engineering and assembly of the 737 MAX nacelles, which include the circular inlets and carbon-reinforced composite pods that encase the engines.

The plant is Boeing’s first major investment in South Carolina not associated with the 787.

The planemaker on Friday declined to specify the number of jobs the new plant will create.

“We do not disclose staffing levels for specific teams, but these jobs are included in our commitment that we announced earlier this year to create 2,000 new jobs and invest in excess of an additional $1 billion in South Carolina over the next eight years,” Boeing South Carolina spokesman Rob Gross said.

“We anticipate that additional engineering, manufacturing and support positions will be added as part of this statement of work in the future,” he said. “Staffing decisions are continuously evaluated as business needs evolve and are based on many business factors.”

The 737 MAX is the updated version of Boeing’s top-selling, single-aisle jet.

The Chicago-based aerospace giant employs about 6,000 workers in the region. Most are based at its 787 Dreamliner campus at Charleston International Airport.

Schedule speakers at Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony include Nicole Piasecki, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Propulsion Systems Division.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.

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