Boeing Pauses South Carolina 787 Work

Boeing Charleston
Credit: Sean Broderick/AWST

Boeing will suspend its 787 production and some related work at its North Charleston, South Carolina facility on April 8 “until further notice,” extending its aircraft manufacturing pause farther beyond its Pacific Northwest operations base. 

The move, announced April 6, goes into effect after the second shift on April 8. It also affects the Boeing South Carolina (BSC) interiors and propulsion centers located nearby.  

Boeing’s announcement comes on the same day that South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued a statewide “home-or-work” order, beginning April 7, in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of the virus across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program,” said Brad Zaback, VP and general manager of the 787 Program and BSC site leader. “We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people.” 

Boeing said it plans to “continue to conduct enhanced cleaning activities at the site and monitor the global supply chain as the situation evolves.” It will take an “orderly approach” to a re-start. 

The company’s North Charleston facility shares 787 production with its Everett, Washington widebody production center, building all three versions of the Boeing widebody, including all 787-10s.  

Boeing workers who can work from home will do so. Those who cannot will receive paid leave for 10 days. After that, they can elect to use paid time off or file for emergency unemployment, the company said. Boeing will continue to cover benefits for all workers. 

Boeing previously paused production of all aircraft besides the 737 MAX produced in its Renton and Everett, Washington facilities starting March 25, for an initial two-week period. On April 5, it extended those pauses “until further notice.” MAX production has been suspended since mid-January due to the model’s ongoing global grounding.  

On April 3, the company’s Philadelphia-area military rotorcraft production facilities were paused. Current plans have them coming back online April 20. 

With South Carolina set to pause, Boeing’s remaining new-aircraft production will be in St. Louis, which focuses on the F/A-18 fighter jet, and Mesa, Arizona, where it produces AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. 

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.