Global Aeronautica, a
50/50 joint venture between Alenia North America and Vought Aircraft, is set to
begin producing Boeing 787 fuselage segments next month at its new 32,500sq m
(350,000sq ft) assembly and integration facility on the grounds of the
Charleston International airport in South
The new facility, opened
last week, will integrate most of the new aircraft’s fuselage, with the
exception of the nose cone, wings and horizontal and vertical tail sections,
beginning with pre-finished barrel sections made elsewhere and flown in on
Boeing’s new 747 Large Cargo Freighter.
The LCF, currently
completing final flight tests, will also be used to transport the completed
fuselage assemblies to Boeing’s final assembly plant in Everett, Washington.
Charleston International is currently building a taxiway so the LCF can taxi
directly to the plant.
Initial 787 production
operations will begin in the first quarter of next year, with deliveries to
Boeing expected early in the second quarter. Boeing plans to fly the 787 for
the first time by the end of summer, and begin deliveries of the first variant,
the 787-3, in 2008.
anticipates having 100 employees working at the facility in January. This could
by 250 additional employees as production ramps up to produce 10 fuselages a month
by 2010, although the number is “subject to change as Boeing reexamines
production rate,” according to an Alenia spokesman.
The plant features a
moving assembly line using automated ground vehicles to move the various barrel
sections through the plant.