Boeing, explaining its only a flesh wound, announced today it will close its final assembly plant in Long Beach in two years.
Southern California's onetime defense industry behemoth that employed thousands in adjacent Orange County–including an uncle of everyone reading this–just delivered the Air Force's final C-17 Globemaster III but still has foreign orders and after-delivery support for the heavy-lift cargo plane through 2015.
“Ending C-17 production was a very difficult but necessary decision,” says Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space N Security, in a statement carried by City News Service.
“We want to thank the highly skilled and talented employees who have built this great airlifter for more than two decades–and those who will help us as we continue to build the remaining 22 aircraft and support and modernize the global fleet for decades to come.”
Workforce reductions are to begin early next year and continue through 2015 for the nearly 3,000 C-17 production employees in Long Beach; Macon, Ga.; Mesa, Ariz.; and St. Louis, according to Boeing, which vows to help those workers find jobs within the company or elsewhere.
Production on the C-17s began in the early 1990s, with 223 going to the Air Force and 34 being delivered to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and NATO. The Globemaster III has been coveted for airlift operations around the world because it can handle heavy cargo and take off and land on relatively short runways.