Guy Norris in Long Beach

Boeing delivered the 156th and last 717-200 from Long Beach on 23 May to AirTran Airways, marking the end of commercial aircraft manufacturing in California and the formal closure of the 717 line.

The event was marked by a double delivery, with AirTran taking its 87th aircraft and Midwest its 25th 717.

The AirTran aircraft was the last to depart Long Beach, becoming the 15,599th aircraft to emerge from the site. This number does not include the prototype or production C-17s assembled at Boeing’s dedicated airlifter factory adjacent to the commercial aircraft site.

While much of the civil production facility has already been demolished to make way for a business development dubbed “Douglas Park”, Boeing will retain the buildings where the MD-80/90/717 and MD-11 lines were housed.

The prototype 717, almost stripped after being used for numerous tests, is still located in the former DC-10/MD-11 production-line area in Building 84, but it has an uncertain future.

The company’s Douglas Center design offices will also remain on-site and around 500 engineers retained for modification and conversion programmes.

In all, around 2,500 Boeing employees will be retained at the commercial site to support Boeing and legacy Douglas products as well as Commercial Aviation Services work.

B717-last boeing W445

End of an era at Long Beach

Including the 717 fleet, more than 2,715 of the 3,645 aircraft produced in Long Beach since 1958 are in commercial and military service. In all, the site built 556 DC-8s, 976 DC-9s, 1,191 MD-80s, 120 MD-90s, 386 DC-10s and 60 KC-10s as well as 200 MD-11s. The majority of the aircraft assembled at the site, which was first developed for the war effort in 1940, were bombers, transports and attack aircraft including 3,000 B-17s, 4,285 C-47s and 1,779 A-4 Skyhawks, the last of which was delivered in 1979.

Source: Flight International