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Boeing to make major move in S.C.

Some local leaders fear the move could ultimately cost the Puget Sound region jobs.
/ Source: KING5

EVERETT, Wash. - Boeing is set to take a big step Wednesday that could lead to a second 787 production line - one outside of Washington state.

The company confirmed to KING 5 News that it will file building permits Wednesday in North Charleston, S.C. to expand its new plant there. That's the plant Boeing purchased from Vought Aerospace just a few months ago, which builds big body sections for the 787.

Watch the report

Boeing calls it nothing more than procedure and that no decision has been made on where to start a second assembly line.

Local leaders call it ominous that Boeing would even consider going outside the Puget Sound region to assemble commercial airplanes.

When Vought built the plant, which includes the world's largest autoclave oven to bake the carbon fiber composite plastics, Boeing was not expecting to set up a second assembly line to catch up on production.

But now that Boeing has said it will build that second line to try to make up for the two years it's lost in getting the 787 into the air and into the hands of airlines, will the existing capacity at this plant and others be enough?

There is a lot of fear here in Western Washington that the South Carolina location will become the site of a second line.

“It's a very real worry,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “It goes to the heart of the concerns I aired back in January and cautioned the state Legislature about the potential loss of the second line, and the need for the Boeing Company to do the second line. And restated those concerns when Boeing announced it would acquire the Vought facilities in South Carolina.”

It’s still not certain where the second assembly line will go. It could go to Everett, to South Carolina or maybe another state.

The overriding concern is that if Boeing sets up plants far away, other airplane programs – and jobs – could follow.