Boeing to break ground next week on South Carolina facility

Fri Nov 8, 2013 6:45pm EST
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By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) said it would break ground on Tuesday for a propulsion facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, expanding its facilities in the nonunion state.

The facility, which will be known as Propulsion South Carolina, will design and assemble the engine nacelle inlet for the 737 MAX. A nacelle is the outer housing of a jet engine.

The planned expansion comes as Boeing appeared poised to consider building its newest jet, the 777X, outside of Washington state, after union leaders criticized a labor deal that was supposed help ensure the work went to Washington. Union members are due to vote on the contract offer on Wednesday. Boeing is looking at South Carolina and other sites for the new jet.

The new 225,000-square-foot facility will be located in Palmetto Commercial Park, near another Boeing center that makes interior parts for the 787 Dreamliner.

Engine nacelle inlet assembly is expected to start in mid-2015, Boeing South Carolina spokesman Robert Gross said on Friday. Initial engineering design work for the engine nacelle inlet has begun, Gross said.

Engineering design work for the 737 MAX and the new propulsion facility mark the first work for Boeing South Carolina on a commercial airplane other than the 787.

Nicole Piasecki, vice president and general manager of Boeing's propulsion systems division, and Charlie Hix, director of Propulsion South Carolina, are due to speak at Tuesday's groundbreaking.

The commercial park is on land that Boeing owns about 10 miles away from its main campus in North Charleston, which holds the second final assembly plant for the 787 Dreamliner.   Continued...

A visitor takes a picture of miniature Boeing passenger aircraft on display at Aviation Expo China 2013 in Beijing September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon