Expansion in other programs and replanning job positions has allowed Boeing to avoid slashing 70 jobs from its Macon plant this year, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.
In January, the aerospace giant announced 70 jobs would be removed during 2011 from the C-17 line at the Boeing plant in south Bibb County near the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, and another 20 jobs would be eliminated in 2012 because the line is being phased out as the U.S. Air Force is no longer buying the jet cargo plane.
“Now, we will not have to eliminate any positions this year at all,” said Long Beach, Calif., Boeing C-17 spokeswoman Cindy Anderson. “We were able to redeploy the majority of those positions to other work within Boeing, mostly at the Macon plant. Our work force should be stable at about 500 there.” Anderson also said job cuts for 2012 will still be under review.
Work on the CH-47 Chinook helicopter and wings for the A-10 attack jet is being increased at Boeing’s Macon facility, Anderson said.
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“We estimate about 55 percent of the work in Macon is now on the Chinook line, and we still do A-10 work there,” she said.
The twin rotor CH-47 is used by numerous nations around the globe and is a workhorse for the Army’s mission in Afghanistan. Variants of the helicopter have been in service for almost 50 years, and the Army, along with other armed services, have been upgrading Chinooks for several years.
Designed in the early 1970s, the A-10 has been used by the U.S. Air Force as an attack aircraft for the past three decades. It has been used extensively for ground attack missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Air Force has been replacing older wings, along with battle-damaged sections, of the twin-engine jet for the past decade.
The Macon plant manufactures several sections of the C-17, including doors, flaps, floor panels, side frames and lower nose assemblies.
The C-17 has been in service with the Air Force since 1995, but the last Pentagon-bought aircraft are due to roll off the production line next year.
England, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates all have open orders for C-17s, and India is in the process of buying 10 of the cargo aircraft. That deal is in the negotiation phase.
“We still have work for the Macon plant. We are still building aircraft,” Anderson said.
To contact writer Shelby G. Spires, call 744-4494.