Boeing’s Lowcountry aircraft manufacturing facility is on track to begin assembling Dreamliner aircraft in July 2011, company executives say. Boeing also announced that it would deliver its first Dreamliner to a paying customer sometime during the third quarter of this year.
That’s obviously good news – particularly in light of the company’s conflicted position as it fights an unprecedented anti-free market assault from U.S. President Barack Obama’s appointees on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Last month, the NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing alleging that it illegally transferred work from its Everett, Washington facility when it decided to locate its second Dreamliner assembly plant in South Carolina. That complaint has sparked a political furor in the Palmetto state – particularly given the massive (and controversial) taxpayer-funded incentives the company was awarded when it chose South Carolina.
The NLRB – which continues to overlook the 2,000 new union jobs Boeing has added in Washington since announcing its South Carolina facility – has told Boeing it must expand production in Washington first.
That’s a blatant shakedown – in addition to a gratuitous assault on all right-to-work states.
In fact, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina has correctly referred to the NLRB’s complaint “government by mafia.”
According to a May 2010 report, Boeing’s annual economic impact to the Palmetto state could be worth more than$6 billion a year. That report also predicted that Boeing would create 15,000 permanent jobs – 3,800 direct jobs at its production facility and roughly 11,200 “spin-off” jobs.
The Dreamliner, a next-generation passenger airplane, was supposed to be ready for delivery back in May of 2008, but numerous supply chain and design issues have forced multiple delays – costing Boeing billions of dollars.
Made of 50 percent carbon fiber composite material, the Dreamliner is lighter, stronger and more fuel-efficient than most commercial jets – which are made primarily of aluminum. This has resulted in a record number of orders for the plane. In fact, at last count more than 830 of the planes had been ordered – at a cost of roughly $200 million per plane.