CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Workers continued Thursday to build new 787s at Boeing's South Carolina assembly plant even though federal authorities have grounded planes now in service while onboard batteries are checked.
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the jetliners the previous day following battery fires on two of the new planes flown by Japanese carriers.
Production continued on the new planes at the company's sprawling North Charleston assembly plant that employs about 6,000 workers, said Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger. Boeing also builds the plane at its plant in Everett, Wash.
She said she could not comment further on the battery situation but referred to a statement the company had released earlier.
In that statement, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney vouched for the safety of the new fuel-efficient plane the company calls the Dreamliner. It is the first commercial aircraft to have a hull made of lightweight composite materials instead of aluminum.
"''We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service," he said.