South Carolina has had to be patient as it awaits the imminent delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Air India.
But any frustration that comes from having to wait for that to happen is easily offset by news that Boeing is expanding its plant here — a lot (313,000 square feet).
According to state filings and company officials, the space in which the mid-body is assembled is already being modified and the aft-body factory is scheduled for expansion beginning this month.
Indeed, the project, set to be completed in February 2014, will increase the acreage that has been paved or built upon at Boeing by 36.4 percent, from 75.3 acres to 111.7 acres.
The expansion underscores Boeing’s ambitions for the North Charleston operation.
The plant turns out 3.5 airplanes a month now. By the end of this year, Boeing expects that rate to grow to five per month. And by the end of 2013, it is expected to be 10 a month.
As for Air India, the long-anticipated delivery of North Charleston’s first Dreamliner is expected to occur this month. Today, workers in Everett, Wash., can celebrate from across the country as their first Dreamliner is delivered to Air India from the Boeing factory here. It has been here for two months pending resolution of a contractual dispute.
Air India ordered 27 Dreamliner jets in 2005 as part of a plan to boost its sagging business. The long-range, fuel-efficient Dreamliners will allow Air India to fly to new destinations and to do it with more cost efficiency.
With the pending plant expansion will come a boost in construction jobs — welcome news to the region.
And soon we can celebrate the first North Charleston-assembled 787 Dreamliner leaving for its new home in India.