ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Boeing Co. is ending production of its C-17 military cargo planes in 2015, according to a statement from the company Wednesday.
The move effects facilities in Long Beach; Macon, Ga.; Mesa, Ariz. and St. Louis. The Aerospace company said workforce reductions will begin early next year and continue through the closure date. Nearly 3,000 people work on the C-17 production line company-wide.
“We recognize how closing the C-17 line will affect the lives of the men and woman who work here, and we will do everything possible to assist our employees, their families and our community,” said Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager.
In a statement Boeing said employee assistance will be provided including job search resources, financial counseling, retirement seminars and help location potential jobs within and outside the company.
“Ending C-17 production was a very difficult but necessary decision,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
Boeing delivered its final C-17 to the U.S. Air Force last week, and 22 planes are still in production. Thirteen of them haven’t been sold yet. Seven are going to India, and 2 are going to an unnamed buyer overseas.
“Our customers around the world face very touch budget environments. While the desire for the C-17’s capabilities is high, budgets cannot support additional purchases in the timing required to keep the production line open,” Muilenburg said. “What’s more, here in the United States the sequestration situation has created significant planning difficulties for our customers and the entire aerospace industry. Such uncertainty forced difficult decisions like this C-17 line closure.”
Since the first C-17 took flight on September 15, 1991, the C-17 has amassed more than 2.6 million flying hours supporting airlift of troops and large cargo precision airdrop of humanitarian supplies and life saving aeromedical missions.
Boeing has delivered 257 C-17s, including 223 to the U.S. Air Force, and a total of 34 to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $33 billion buisness with 59,000 employees worldwide.