350 job axed as Boeing's Sydney plant shuts

18:23, March 04, 2010      

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U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced on Thursday it is going to shut a plant in Sydney with a loss of about 350 jobs, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Boeing said that it is closing the plant over the next 24 to 30 months, shifting its facility to Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.

Mark Ross, the managing director of Boeing Aerostructures Australia, said on Thursday that it made the decision to centralize operations because the two plants in Sydney and Melbourne were operating at less than 50 percent capacity.

Boeing said about 300 new jobs at the Melbourne plant would be offered to the Sydney workers.

Workers at the Bankstown plant would be offered work at the Melbourne facility, but would receive redundancy packages if they did not want to move to Melbourne in Victoria state.

Boeing has invested 200 million dollars (180 million U.S. dollars) in the Melbourne plant over the past two years, as it ramps up its work on the troubled 787 Dreamliner program.

"We're disappointed with the decision. They have advised it is a commercial decision," New South Wales state's Premier Kristina Keneally said.

Ross said the announcement did not come as a surprise to workers because "the reality is that we haven't invested at the levels as we have at the Victorian facility in recent years".

The shutting down marks an end to a 70-year history of building parts for some of the world's most famous jetliners in New South Wales.

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