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Company to paint Dreamliner airplanes at Meacham facility | Airlines and Aviation | Dall…

January 24, 2012
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Leading Edge Aviation Services’ new plant at Fort Worth Meacham Airport is gearing up to handle all the painting on new 787 Dreamliner airplanes that Boeing builds in South Carolina.

Boeing’s South Carolina factory is producing 30 percent of the planes; its factory in Everett, Wash., is building the rest.

At one time last year, Leading Edge indicated that it would paint the South Carolina 787s in Amarillo. But the California-based company secured a 20-year lease on the Fort Worth facility last summer.

Leading Edge spokeswoman Alicia Castle confirmed by e-mail that the Meacham facility will handle all of the Boeing contract. Leading Edge said it chose Fort Worth because of the region’s skilled employment base, central U.S. location, and the existing Meacham plant.

Castle said the Meacham center has fewer than 50 employees. But the Boeing work will start in late March, she said, and Leading Edge will then increase the work force to more than 100. The city, in announcing the lease, which was effective Aug. 1, said it expected the plant to employ 150 at full production.

Castle declined to say when Leading Edge expects full production to start in Fort Worth.

“The Boeing production schedule is confidential, but we begin operations in late March 2012,” she said.

And the Fort Worth center has other work, she said.

“Leading Edge is currently painting wide-body aircraft for United Airlines, and has other major airlines under contract that may utilize the FTW facility,” she wrote.

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