Boeing is set to cut hundreds of jobs at a 787 Dreamliner plant at South Carolina within this year. According to the source, it has nothing to do with the grounding of the jetliner. The plan to slash jobs is common practice as productivity improves on the new airplane program. It was made even before problems with the Dreamliner battery surfaced. Two battery malfunctions resulted to the grounding of the jetliner in mid-January by international aviation regulators.

The job cuts are part of the company’s cost-initiative plan implemented before the battery problems that grounded the flagship jetliner. The job cuts could account to as high as 20 percent of the workforce at the plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. The plant has more than 6,000 workers at present. The source of the report was said to be someone familiar with the plan.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said that the improvement in efficiencies in the company’s processes, growing experience of its workforce, and the training of the entry-level workers will reduce the company’s reliance on contract labor to meet its production objectives. He declined to discuss about the number of workers to be cut from the plants.

The job cuts would affect the company’s outside contractors but Boeing would have to reduce staff positions by not replacing employees who leave or promoted. It is still unclear how the job cuts will affect the performance of Boeing’s plants.

The South Carolina plant is the second Boeing manufacturing facility where 787 Dreamliners are made after the bigger Everett, Washington plant just north of Seattle. With the two plants, Boeing makes five Dreamliners a month.

Boeing said that the production of the Dreamliner is not affected by the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner. It wants to continue with its plan to increase up to ten 787 Dreamliners a month by the end of 2013.

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