Report: 787-9 composite horizontal tails to be made in Utah, Italy

After hinting for some time that it might move horizontal tail production out of Seattle, Boeing has decided to shift manufacturing of the horizontal tail for the second 787 model to Salt Lake City and Italy.

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The Seattle Times reported on March 15 that The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash., USA) has decided that production of the composite horizontal tail of the 787-9, whose manufacturing process was developed at its Seattle research center, will move this year to a Boeing plant in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and to Italy's Alenia.

The shift, says the report, will not mean loss of jobs in Seattle, and could mean addition of up to 100 jobs in Utah. The 787-9 is the next, larger version of the Dreamliner, and is to enter service in early 2014, after the initial 787-8 model being built today.

Alenia makes all horizontal tails for the 787-8, but those parts had quality issues that led to significant delays to 787 program. According to the report, in fall 2010, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh said the company was "taking a very hard look at where the 787-9 tails should be built," and later announced that initial development work would be done at the Developmental Center beside Boeing Field in Seattle.

The report says the plan is to begin shifting assembly and integration work of horizontal tails for the early production aircraft to Boeing's fabrication plant in Salt Lake City toward the end of this year. Later, for long-term production, the work will be split between Salt Lake and Italy.

Click here for full report in The Seattle Times.