US aerospace giant Boeing announced Tuesday that it will invest more than $1 billion to expand operations in South Carolina, where it builds the 787 Dreamliner.
The Chicago-based company said it had invested more than $1 billion in land, facilities, infrastructure, and tooling in South Carolina since 2009 and currently employs more than 6,000 people in the southern state.
Boeing said it was expanding in South Carolina to prepare for “unprecedented demand for commercial airplanes — including a forecast of another 34,000 airplanes required over the next 20 years.”
Boeing’s plant in Charleston, South Carolina will produce three 787s per month at full production, while the company’s main plant in Everett, Washington state, will produce seven a month.
Deliveries of the aircraft are on hold however as Boeing awaits regulators’ approval for the cutting-edge plane to fly again after overheated lithium-ion batteries prompted the grounding of all 50 787s in service in mid-January.
The company’s announcement came a day after Airbus, Boeing’s European arch-rival, broke ground on its first US commercial plane assembly plant, in Mobile, Alabama, another southern state.
A subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, Airbus hopes its expanded US presence will help it compete with Boeing for US defense-related business.