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Boeing to shutter C-17 cargo jet line in Long Beach

September 18, 2013|By W.J. Hennigan

Aerospace giant Boeing Co. said Wednesday it plans to complete production of the C-17 cargo jet and close the final assembly facility in Long Beach in 2015.

The move marks the end of the last major airplane production line left in Southern California.

Last Thursday, Boeing delivered its 223rd and final C-17 to the Air Force. Now, with few foreign orders to fill, company officials have decided to shutter the assembly line for good in 2015.

"Ending C-17 production was a very difficult but necessary decision," said Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "We want to thank the highly skilled and talented employees who have built this great airlifter for more than two decades.”

Employees at the plant were told Wednesday.

The C-17 Globemaster III is a massive, four-engine jet that can haul 60-ton tanks, troops and medical gear across continents and land on short runways.

Boeing has delivered 257 of the planes from its plant next to Long Beach Airport.

For the last several years, the company has been pushing foreign sales as a way to help prolong work there. But because most foreign orders were relatively small -- a handful of planes at a time -- they haven't sustained the plant for more than a few months.

The company said nearly 3,000 employees support the C-17 production program in Long Beach; Macon, Ga.; Mesa, Ariz. and St. Louis.

The company plans the workforce reductions beginning in early 2014 and continuing through closure.

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