More than a hundred Macon Boeing employees will have to find a new job. The company says they plan on closing the plant that has been there for decades.
The planes from the airport can be heard overhead, but soon, the Boeing Plant in Macon will be silent.
Company leaders say come mid-December, the plant will be closing after about 35 years.
"It's unfortunate and regrettable,” says Macon Mayor Robert Reichert.
He says they were celebrating just over a year ago when the company announced they would create 200 new jobs in Macon.
"We were all excited about producing fuselage panels for the 747s, thinking that that would not be subject to the variation of military cutbacks,” says Mayor Reichert.
The company says they suspended plans to increase production from .05 airplanes a month to just one. Now there is a reduced demand for large cargo freighters.
"What happens on the national level sometimes filters all the way down to us here on the local level,” says Mayor Reichert.
Boeing sent a statement about the closure to WMAZ.
“For more than 35 years Boeing has been proud to be a member of the Macon-Bibb community, and we’d like to thank the community for their support and partnership. During that time, the men and women on the Boeing Macon team have performed with unmatched professionalism and delivered products with outstanding quality to those who serve our nation around the globe. With current defense-related work concluding in December, the facility was scheduled to begin its transition to a Boeing Commercial Airplanes fabrication facility producing 747 fuselage panels. However, as a result of the previous business decision to suspend plans to increase production from 0.5 airplanes per month to 1.0 airplane per month in 2019, as well as other factors, BCA has determined that it does not have a business case at this time for taking on the Macon site. The main additional factor in this decision is the continuing soft cargo market and the accompanying reduced demand for very large cargo freighters. Following the completion of defense work in December, site operations will conclude with no planned restart. We are continuing to assist employees who are interested in employment opportunities at other Boeing locations. As well, we continue to work with state agencies to identify employment opportunities outside of Boeing for employees.”
News of the closure spread fast, even to a nearby gas station that many plant employees go to. They say it could have an even bigger impact on the area.
"I work close by, so I'm used to hearing the jets all the time. It's even going to affect other parts because people that make parts for the Boeing plants, a lot of machine shops. There's a place right across the street that makes specific parts just for them,” says area worker David Godinez.
He says it will be affecting not only Boeing employees but other businesses as well.
There are about 120 Boeing employees working at the Macon site. That is down from more than 500 a year before. The state named the plant “Georgia Mid-Sized manufacturer of the Year” in 1995 and 2010.