The company cited defense budget restrictions and limited opportunities for new work and competitive cost structure as driving forces to closing its facility in Wichita, Kan., by the end of 2013, displacing its 2,160 employees.
Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for BDS' Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division, said over the past five years, programs in Wichita have been winding down, and with little work on the horizon, the company cannot continue to win new business for that facility. He said any job losses in Wichita would not be implemented until the third quarter of 2012.
"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," he said in a prepared statement. "We will begin program transitions in the coming months, with the complete closure of the site scheduled for the end of 2013."
For Oklahoma, it likely will add hundreds of jobs. Gov. Mary Fallin said the state will welcome the engineering work that will be moved to Oklahoma City.
“This is a difficult time for Boeing employees who have been impacted by the decision to close the Wichita facility, and my heart goes out to those men and women,” she said in a prepared statement. “However, as with the recent relocation of Boeing staff from California to the Boeing Oklahoma City facility, our state stands ready to welcome all employees and their families who will now call Oklahoma home.”
Additional operations now based in Kansas will move to the Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas. Work on the KC-46 tanker will move to Puget Sound, Wash. For Kansas employees who will not be offered new positions or choose not to relocate, the company reported it will assist employees with retirement seminars, job search resources, financial counseling and assistance in finding other jobs within Boeing.
In 2010, the company announced operations in Long Beach, Calif., would be moving to Oklahoma City along with 550 jobs. Some of those were transfers and other new hires in the local market. Boeing’s Oklahoma City operations are based in two office building just south of Tinker Air Force Base.
Fallin said the announcement furthers Oklahoma’s long connection with Boeing.
“My administration has worked very closely with The Boeing Company to ensure that Oklahoma has both a competitive business climate and a high quality of life for any employees that might be located here,” she said. “It’s a tribute to Oklahoma’s progress and forward momentum that we have been chosen as a relocation site.”