LONG BEACH, California. 29th November, 2015. The moment was poignant as an era came to an end. The final Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter, at the company’s plant in Long Beach, Calif. departed on Sunday, Nov. 29, marking the official end of aircraft production in Long Beach.
The airlifter flew over a crowd and the facility before heading to the company’s San Antonio location, where it will remain until delivery to the Qatar Air Force early in 2016. Hundreds of Boeing’s current and ex-employees bade adieu to it .The 25-acre factory that produced 279 C-17s also is being shut down, representing a setback for the local economy .
With the completion of C-17 production, Boeing will continue the Globemaster III legacy, providing support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement.
“This is truly the end of an era. It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of,” said Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager.
“Our team’s work and dedication and professionalism created one of the world’s leading airlifters, a plane that is at the forefront for providing humanitarian aid and has changed the way the U.S. Air Force and our international partners mobilize for operations and aeromedical support,” Bouchard said.
The decision to end production of the C-17 production program was announced in 2013. Since the first C-17 took to the air on Sept. 15, 1991, the C-17 fleets for the U.S. Air Force and international partners have amassed more than three million flying hours supporting airlift of troops and large cargo, precision airdrop of humanitarian supplies and lifesaving aeromedical missions.
Boeing has been a part of California and its rich aerospace legacy for more than 90 years, with more than 15,000 airplanes – military and commercial – produced at Boeing facilities including those run by Boeing legacy companies McDonnell Aircraft Company, Douglas Aircraft Company and North American Aviation.
Today Southern California occupies a diversified footprint of Boeing operations including commercial aviation; satellite manufacturing and new markets such as cyber security. Boeing has more than 16,000 employees in California and remains committed to defense and commercial business in the state.