Boeing will cut approximately 1100 jobs from its C-17 production line by the end of 2012 as it winds down the production rate of the airlifter.
The move follows a scale down in C-17 deliveries from 14 in 2010 to an announced 13 in 2011, to 10 aircraft in 2012. The lower production rate, announced in Febuarary 2010, is designed to give Boeing time to capture more international orders.
C-17 program manager Bob Ciesla said in a statement that it had been a “very difficult decision” to cut jobs, but was necessary as deliveries wind down. “By reducing the number of C-17s we deliver every year — and doing that with a smaller work force — will allow us to keep the production line open beyond 2012, protect jobs, and give potential customers more time to finalise their airlift requirements.”
The shift to phase two of production will result in the elimination of the second shift at the C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach, California. Boeing anticipates that the work force reduction will primarily impact Long Beach, where approximately 900 of the 1100 job losses will take place at the program’s final assembly site. The remaining 200 jobs will also be cut from C-17 production program employees in Macon, Georgia; Mesa, Arizona, and St Louis, Missouri. Boeing says the C-17 program supports roughly 25,000 supplier jobs in 44 states, and has an annual economic impact of approximately US$5.8 billion.
The C-17, of which four are in service with the RAAF, achieved two million total flight hours in December, less than five years after it passed the one million-flight-hour mark in March 2006. The USAF has taken delivery of 206 out of the 226 C-17s produced so far.