Boeing has broken ground at the second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner aircraft at its Charleston facility in South Carolina.

The second facility has been selected to help the programme cope with increasing production rates, and will also support the testing and delivery of the airplanes.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh said that the event marked the beginning of an expansion plan that would strengthen the 787 programme and allow the company to continue building on the footprint it had established in South Carolina with Boeing Charleston and Global Aeronautica.

“Establishing a second 787 assembly line in Charleston will expand our production capability to meet the market demand for the airplane,” Albaugh said.

The Charleston facility performs fabrication, assembly and systems installation for the 787 aft fuselage sections, while Global Aeronautica, a partly owned Boeing company, joins and integrates the 787 fuselage sections.

The Dreamliner family will carry 210 to 330 passengers on flights up to 8,500nm.

55 airlines have ordered 840 Dreamliners since the programme was launched in 2003.