Boeing to end production of C-17 cargo plane
Boeing Co. delivers the last C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet for the U.S. Air Force at the aerospace company's plant to members of the U.S. Air Force in Long Beach, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Military officials took delivery of the C-17 Globemaster III, the 223rd sold to the Air Force.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — Boeing Co. announced Wednesday afternoon that it is ending production of its C-17 military cargo planes, a move that will likely lead to 300 layoffs at the company in St. Louis and perhaps more at local suppliers.
The last C-17 is due to be completed in 2015, and layoffs will start early next year, the company said. About 3,000 people work on C-17 production company-wide.
"Endinc C-17 production was a very difficult but necessary decision," said Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security. "We want to thank the highly skilled and talented employees who have built this great airlifter for more than two decades."
Boeing still has 22 C-17s in production but it delivered its final plane to the U.S. Air Force last week. It extended production through foreign sales, but those orders were few and far between.
"Our customers around the world face very tough budget environments. While the desire for the C-17s capabilities are high, budgets cannot support additional purchases in the timing required to keep the production line open," Muilenberg 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 forces difficult decisions like this C-17 line closure."
In August, Boeing signaled that this move might be coming when it said it was evaluating the future of long-lead production. But company spokespeople suggested more international orders might be coming.
About 300 Boeing employees -- down from 900 in 2009 -- work directly on the C-17 production in St. Louis, where several key components are made before final assembly in Long Beach, Calif. Many smaller suppliers also contribute to parts for the C-17.