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India's $4-bn order to support jobs at Boeing's CA plant

June 07, 2011 10:55 IST

Boeing CAIndia's $4.1 billion shopping spree of 10 Boeing C-17 military cargo aircraft will support jobs at the aircraft major's beleaguered California plant, which has received a boost with the new order, a Boeing official said.

The deal should keep things humming at the sprawling plant in Long Beach, California through 2014, Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling said in a Los Angeles Times report.

Drelling said the order "helps us keep the line alive and supports jobs".

Boeing is the largest employer in Long Beach near Los Angeles.

The plane has an estimated $5.8 billion annual economic impact and the jobs of about 25,000 workers in 44 states depend on it, Drelling said.

India on Monday gave its go ahead to purchase 10 C-17 heavy-lift military aircraft in a deal worth $4.1 billion.

The deal with Boeing is the biggest defence deal between India and the US.

"We are still waiting on the signatures, but the deal is 99.9 per cent done," the LA Times report quoted Stan Klemchuk, president of the United Aerospace Workers Local 148, which represents 1,600

workers at the Boeing factory.

"Folks are buzzing in Long Beach. It gives us one more year of work and could not come at a better time".

In January, Boeing had said it would cut 900 of the 3,700 jobs at the plant.

Last year, due to slowing orders from the Pentagon, Boeing had said it would cut production rates by one-third to 10 aircraft a year from 15.

The production line had been slated for closure at the end of next year.

"This deal keeps the line open for more sales to come to fruition," Klemchuk said.

"It gets us through a crucial time".

The Long Beach Boeing plant is the last major conventional aircraft factory in Southern California.

Boeing said that in California, about 14,000 jobs, including many at small mom-and-pop machine shops depend on the programme.

"The India deal could open a brand new business market and signify a budding trade relationship between the two countries," the report said.

Yoshita Singh in Boston
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