RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Boeing says it's buying the manufacturing operation of a key supplier for its long-delayed 787 Dreamliner. Boeing is based in Seattle, and the manufacturer is in South Carolina. The airplane maker says the move is aimed at improving efficiency, though that's not why people are talking about this deal.
From Seattle, NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.
WENDY KAUFMAN: For years, Boeing has been threatening to move airplane production out of Seattle and to some place less expensive to do business, a place it wouldn't have to contend with thorny and strike-prone unions. On Tuesday, Boeing announced it would buy the Charleston operations of Vought Aircraft Industries. And that has Washington state leaders, union officials and others wondering, is this the first step to setting up a second production line for its 787 airplane? Boeing spokesman, Jim Proulx.
Mr. JIM PROULX (Boeing Spokesman): We have made no plans about a second 787 line, and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on that for now.
KAUFMAN: But a no comment, doesn't silence the speculation. While the South Carolina factory has had serious quality and financial problems, it is very well located, surrounded by lots of empty land, with plenty of room to build a second 787 assembly line and potentially build other Boeing jets, as well. Scott Hamilton, the Seattle-based analyst who follows Boeing, says the deal might galvanize those who want Boeing to stay here.
Mr. SCOTT HAMILTON (Aviation Analyst): Maybe this is the two-by-four upside the head that they need to wake up.
KAUFMAN: Boeing is now in stronger position to pit one location against another. And as Hamilton notes, that is not good news for Boeing's Washington State boosters.
Wendy Kaufman, NPR News, Seattle.
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