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Era closes as last Boeing C-17 departs Long Beach

Boeing officially marked the end of aircraft production at a 74-year-old plant in Long Beach, California, on 29 November, flying the last C-17 out of the factory complex on Lakewood, Boulevard.

The military airlifter was flown to another Boeing facility San Antonio, Texas, before a scheduled delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early next year.

Boeing vice-president and C-17 programme manager called the event “truly the end of an era”.

The fate of the Long Beach plant was sealed when Boeing announced plans to end C-17 production two years ago.

The factory was opened by Douglas on the eve of World War II and shipped more than 30,000 military aircraft within four years.

It symbolised both the growth and decline of what was once a thriving aerospace manufacturing cluster in Southern California.

Boeing closed down commercial aircraft manufacturing in Long Beach in 2004, following the acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in 1997.

Boeing continued building C-17s for another decade from Long Beach, despite losing USAF orders for new aircraft after 2011.

More than 16,000 Boeing employees continue to work in Southern California, mainly in commercial aviation engineering or satellite manufacturing.



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