Nov 30, 2015 06:00 AM EST

Boeing C-17 Bids Farewell To Its Long Beach Plant As Production Ends


Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane bids farewell to its Long Beach plant as production ends for the building of a military or civilian aircraft.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was the last to depart from the Long Beach facility last Sunday where hundreds of Boeing employees attended the momentous occasion.

The last production of the Boeing C-17 was marked with a rollout of the last transport and a flyover at the Long Beach Airport where the company's assembly plant was located nearby.

Los Angeles Times has learned the Boeing C-17, decked with the insignia of the Qatar Air Force taxied at about 12:15 p.m. onto the airfield where it was met with cheers and shouts from the crowd who chanted "Here she comes!"

Fifteen minutes later, the Boeing C-17 turned back and passed close to the ground over the runway complex. The four-engine plane which can carry cargoes of greater than 80 tons then took up the pace as it began its climb and faded into the majestic sky. Its destination was to San Antonio, Texas where it will be picked up in early 2016 by the Qatar government.

A Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager, Nan Bouchard said, “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 on this great plane can be proud of.”

A sad day indeed as the shutting down of the 25-acre factory would also mean a loss of almost 400 huge paying manufacturing employment.

Fox News reported over two decades ago, the Long Beach factory has assembled around 250 Boeing C-17s. However, two years ago, the company announced that not enough foreign orders came in to substantiate in maintaining the plant open, as per Military Times.

California was once the pride of aerospace work, producing anything from bombers to jetliners.

The Long Beach plant was built by Douglas Aircraft Co., in the late 1980s. It won the contract with the U. S. Air Force to manufacture the now called Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — one of greatest sophisticated cargo planes in the globe. Boeing bought its longtime competitor in 1996 and took over the C-17 production.

Nevertheless, the aerospace industry in California has been declining in the past decade partly due to Pentagon's purse-tightening and civilian aircraft buyers.

In the words of James Dawson, a veteran Boeing employee, The Boeing C-17 “has been a great program with great people. But times change.”

“I was here when the first C-17 left, and I am here for the last C-17.”

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