Air India's Boeing 787 rolls out of Carolina plant

US aerospace giant Boeing on Friday rolled out the first 787 Dreamliner built at its new plant in South Carolina and destined for Air India.

The rollout marked the first time the Chicago-based Boeing has produced a twin-aisle commercial airplane outside of Puget Sound, near Seattle in Washington state.

Boeing broke ground on the massive campus in North Charleston more than two years ago in a bid to ramp up production of its 787. Production began last June.

Boeing delivered the first 787, built at its Seattle area facilities, to launch customer All Nippon Airways last September, three years behind schedule.

The South Carolina-built 787 remains on schedule for delivery to Air India in mid-2012, Boeing said.

The new aircraft is largely built with lightweight composite materials. Boeing says the Dreamliner is about 20 percent more fuel efficient than similarly sized aircraft and is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes.

On Friday, the freshly minted 787 emerged from Boeing's final assembly plant in clouds billowing from a smoke machine and fireworks overhead, to a crowd of several thousand Boeing employees and guests.

"This is a proud moment for Boeing as we roll out an airplane from our third final assembly site," said Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive of Commercial Airplanes.

"Today I welcome the South Carolina team into a small and elite fraternity -- a fraternity of workers who have built one of the most complex machines in the world -- a commercial airplane."

Boeing has booked orders for more than 800 787s from 60 customers, in what it touts as its most successful launch of a twin-aisle commercial airplane in the company's history.

The list price for the biggest of the two 787 versions is $227.8 million.

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