Boeing Is Closing This Major Facility Three Months Early

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Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) revealed on Monday that it would be shuttering its C-17 production facility in Long Beach, California, three months ahead of schedule, now closing the plant in mid-2015 because of “current market trends and the timing of expected orders,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

As a result, Boeing said it is prepared to write down $50 million in accounting charges in the first quarter. The plant is 1.1 million square feet in size and produces the  behemoth C-17 Globemaster III, a four-engined cargo jet that can carry 60-ton tanks, personnel, and medical gear transcontinentally, and has the added ability of being able to take advantage of short runways.

The C-17 was first contracted by the Air Force in 1981, and took its first flight under the moniker of T-1 in 1991. Though the U.S. Air Force has received its last C-17 jet, Boeing still has a couple of foreign orders to fulfill before it shuts the facility down for good. The plant currently employs around 2,200 people.

According to the Los Angeles Times, ”the plant is one of the last vestiges of an era in which aviation and aerospace helped build Southern California’s middle class, and it was a major employer in Long Beach for decades,” the publication said. The company has already began reducing the workforce at the plant, and it plans to continue the cuts through closure. Boeing first announced its intentions to close the plant in September.

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Boeing built 223 C-17s for the Air Force, the last of which was delivered about a week prior to the announcement of the plant’s fate. As of yet, there are no plans to start a new manufacturing program at the facility.

“Boeing has said some workers may be moved to other jobs inside the company, but many will have to enter a still-tough job market, with unemployment at 8.7 percent in Los Angeles County,” the Times said.

Boeing has been moving operations into South Carolina, where it’s working on ramping up production of the Dreamliner commercial aircraft. Its facility in Everett, Washington, has also seen its share of drama this year, as workers and Boeing are at odds over union contracts that resulted in Boeing threatening to pull its manufacturing operations from the state.

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