Boeing has announced that it will resume 787 operations in North Charleston, South Carolina, starting from May 3rd. These activities were previously suspended on April 8th to avoid further spread of the virus to Boeing employees.
787 work will resume in South Carolina
On April 8th, Boeing suspended work on 787s in South Carolina due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those who were able to work from home continued to work from home. Meanwhile, for others, it was a wait-and-see approach, with Boeing providing some assistance for assembly line workers.
Senior leaders at the South Carolina facility will return to work on April 30th. Managers will follow on May 1st. Some workers will return on May 3rd, while others will return on May 4th, depending on the shift of employees.
While the temporary suspension of productions will hamper Boeing’s delivery numbers in 2020, most airlines are seeking to defer new aircraft deliveries amid a global cash crunch. The crisis does continue to take its toll on airlines, and it is unclear when the situation will start to improve, and more airlines start taking on new aircraft.
Boeing South Carolina is taking some precautions to ensure the safety of its employees. The company is cleaning all of the buildings. Restrooms will be pressure washed, and shared spaces like break areas, cafeterias, and conference rooms are being thoroughly cleaned. Across the site, Boeing has established hand sanitizing stations and posted signs reminding people to maintain social distancing in shared areas.
Some of the onus is on employees to support a healthy workspace. Employees are asked to wear their own cloth face masks while some, who work in areas where social distancing is not readily possible, will have to wear procedural masks. Also, there are voluntary temperature screening stations with no-touch thermal scanners.
787 work in South Carolina
While most people know Boeing’s aircraft production in Seattle, South Carolina is another major center for Boeing. The first facility in the state opened up in 2011. And, since then, the facility has worked on all three versions of the 787. In fact, the largest and newest version of the Dreamliner, the 787-10, was first rolled out in South Carolina.
The facilities in South Carolina are environmentally friendly. The site was the first Boeing facility to be powered by 100% renewable energy. Some of that energy comes from solar panels on the roof of the 787 Final Assembly building. Also, Boeing South Carolina sends no waste to a landfill.
North Charleston is also a hub for Dreamlifters. The Dreamlifter fleet of modified Boeing 747-400s carry parts of the 787 around the world and support supply chain operations. Once the South Carolina plant reopens, the Dreamlifters will continue to support the 787 production process.
In the meantime, Boeing marshaled the Dreamlifter to fly in personal protective equipment from Hong Kong. 1.5 million face masks took a ride in the Dreamlifter to Greenville– another city in South Carolina.
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