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Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc. has signed an agreement for site development regarding its structural work share on the new 7E7 Dreamliner program.
Vought has reached an agreement on all key terms and conditions for the program contract with Boeing, and will continue to work toward finalization of a definitive contract during the remainder of this year.
Vought is also finalizing a joint venture with Alenia North America, Inc. in support of the Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner program. The joint venture, called Global Aeronautica, LLC, will join and integrate fuselage sections from Vought, Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A. of Italy and other structural partners, which together represent more than 60 percent of the 7E7 fuselage. This integration work will entail the joining of the majority of the fuselage sections and the installation and testing of the associated system elements.
Global Aeronautica has selected Charleston International Airport as the location for its 7E7 integration facility. The site was chosen based on several factors, including access to a deep-water port, airport and rail system infrastructure, readily available land and workforce, and economic incentives.
Vought will produce its 7E7 structures – aft fuselage sections 47 and 48 — in a new 300,000- square-foot, purpose-built facility for its 7E7 program. Vought’s facility will be co-located with the Global Aeronautica integration facility at the Charleston International Airport, which is located in North Charleston. Groundbreaking for these two facilities is planned for early 2005, with 7E7 production tentatively scheduled to begin early in 2006. Initial deliveries to Boeing are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2007.
Alenia Aeronautica will build the centre fuselage sections 44 and 46 in its facilities in Italy and deliver these to the Global Aeronautica integration facility beginning in 2007. All major shipments to and from the integration facility will be accomplished using Boeing’s new Large Cargo Freighter (LCF). The LCF will conduct operations from the Charleston International Airport where the Global Aeronautica and Vought facilities will be located.
Vought officials anticipate the gradual hiring of approximately 350 people to work at its 7E7 production facility, beginning in the third quarter of 2005. Global Aeronautica expects to hire in excess of 250 workers for the integration facility. Roughly two-thirds of these jobs will be in manufacturing. Of the remaining one-third, about half will be in technical support, with the remainder split between administration and maintenance. The management team for the Vought/Alenia North America joint venture will be announced soon.
“Several years ago, Vought and Alenia began discussions that focused on bringing together complementary capabilities, knowledge and expertise of our companies to provide Boeing with the best possible solutions for the 7E7 fuselage,” said Vought President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Risley. “After we decided on a joint venture relationship, our attention turned to selecting a site to support our 7E7 production and integration work. We examined several worthy U.S. locations for these facilities. Charleston emerged as the clear choice. In the final analysis, it represents the best value for the entire 7E7 fuselage team.”
Vought has work share on virtually every Boeing jetliner in production, from the 737 to the 777. Through its heritage companies, Vought has built major structures for the 747 since its initial production in 1968. These include the main fuselage section, doors and the tail section.
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