More than 2,000 workers in Wichita, Kan., will lose their jobs during the next two years as Boeing closes its production plant in the city.
Late last year, Boeing decided to close its Wichita facility, a plant that mainly handled military and government projects. The company will move all of its operations at this plant to locations in Oklahoma City and San Antonio during a two-year period.
According to Boeing, 2,160 workers at the Wichita plant will lose their positions. Boeing did say that some Wichita employees will receive offers to relocate to the new facilities. Boeing did not specificy how many workers will receive these offers.
Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for Boeing Defense Systems’ Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division, said during an early January press conference that Boeing’s move to Oklahoma City will create about 800 jobs there. He also said that Boeing will offer as many as 400 jobs in San Antonio.
Boeing’s Wichita facility is no small affair. The site icludes 97 buidings and covers almost 2 million square feet. Wichita officials must now decide what to do with the site, not an easy decision.
During his press conference, Bass said that the cost of keeping the Wichita facility running made it too difficult for Boeing to compete for new business.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback called Boeing’s decision to leave Wichita a disappointing one. But he didn’t rule out doing future business with Boeing’s commercial businesses.
“We are deeply saddened Boeing Defense at the end of this transition period will no longer have operations in Kansas,” Brownback said. “Wichita still has world-class facilities and the best trained workforce in the aviation industry, which makes us the best place in the world to build airplanes. The city is strategically positioned to capture additional work packages from Boeing, Airbus and other groups in the rapidly expanding commercial side of the aviation business.”
Wichita served as the base for Boeing’s global transport and executive systems business. Workers here also built B-52 and 767 International Tanker planes here.
Bass said that the decision to close the Wichita facility was not an easy one.
“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,” Bass said in a written statement.