Boeing And Wichita Plant
January 4, 2012 by staff
“The decision to close our Wichita facility was difficult but ultimately was based on a thorough study of the current and future market environment and our ability to remain competitive while meeting our customers’ needs with the best and most affordable solutions,” Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division, said in a news release. “We recognize how this will affect the lives of the highly skilled men and women who work here, so we will do everything possible to assist our employees, their families and our community through this difficult transition.”
The Wichita facility currently employs more than 2,160 people, is the base for the company’s Global Transport & Executive Systems business and its B-52 and 767 International Tanker programs and supports flight mission planning and integrated logistics.
Boeing had planned to complete military modifications to 767-based aerial refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force in Wichita. A recently approved deal with union Machinists stipulated that Boeing would put the work in the Puget Sound region if the company decided not to do it in Wichita.
“Although work on the KC-46 tanker will now be performed in Puget Sound, Wash., the 24 Kansas suppliers on the program will be providing vital elements of the aircraft as originally planned,” Boeing said in the announcement. The company said it would put future aircraft maintenance, modification and support work in San Antonio and engineering work in Oklahoma City.
“Over the past five years, contracts in Wichita have matured, programs have come to a close or are winding down, and the site does not have enough sustainable business on the horizon to create an affordable cost structure to maintain and win new business,” Boeing said in its announcement.
“In this time of defense budget reductions, as well as shifting customer priorities, Boeing has decided to close its operations in Wichita to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and drive competitiveness,” Bass said. “We will begin program transitions in the coming months, with the complete closure of the site scheduled for the end of 2013. We do not anticipate job reductions as a result of this decision until early in the third quarter of 2012.”
Boeing will continue to support Kansas suppliers, Bass said, noting that it “spent more than $3.2 billion with approximately 475 Kansas suppliers in 2011.”
Boeing spinoff Spirit AeroSystems builds the fuselage for every 737 in Wichita.
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