South Carolina’s First 787 Destined for India

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to come out of the Chicago-based airplane manufacturer’s South Carolina plant was celebrated recently at a function in North Charleston. The aircraft will undergo a string of systems checks and engine runs before taking to the air locally, in preparation for its flight across the Atlantic Ocean to India’s Mumbai International Airport and delivery to Air India. Speaking at the event, Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer, Jim Albaugh noted that the rolling out of an airplane from the company’s third final assembly site in South Carolina was a proud moment for Boeing.

Air India will take delivery of the history-making aircraft in mid-2012. It will be the second Boeing 787 Dreamliner of its 27-aircraft order, with the first having been delivered in March from the aircraft manufacturer’s Washington plant. Three more 787’s are to be delivered by the end of the year, with the balance expected in 2013.

Launched in April 2004, with initial orders for 851 airplanes valued at more than $175 billion, from sixty customers, the 787 goes on record for the most successful launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing’s history. Following a number of delays in manufacture, the first 787 Dreamliner flight took place on 15 December 2009, with the first airline to fly the plane, All Nippon Airlines of Japan, taking delivery on 25 September 2011. Although the company has reportedly had 25 order cancellations this year, they have secured 19 new orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Private Russian airline, Transaero, has ordered four of the airplanes, while Japan remains the biggest buyer.

Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager Jack Jones noted that every one of the teammates at the South Carolina plant should be proud of the historic accomplishment of building airplanes to meet Boeing’s high quality standards, while at the same time maintaining an exceptional workplace safety record. Jim Albaugh endorsed this view by welcoming the South Carolina team into a “small and elite fraternity … of workers who have built one of the most complex machines in the world – a commercial airplane.”