Archive for Monday, November 21, 2011

Boeing studies future of Wichita defense site

November 21, 2011, 6:02 p.m. Updated November 21, 2011, 7:43 p.m.

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— Boeing Co. said Monday that it is studying the future of its defense plant in Wichita, including the possibility of closing it.

Boeing spokesman Jarrod Bartlett said in a statement that the study of the Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s Maintenance, Modifications and Upgrades facility is part of an initiative to address what he calls “the current defense budget environment.” The Pentagon has been working this month to prevent $500 billion in automatic, across-the-board defense budget cuts over 10 years if a bipartisan congressional supercommittee can’t agree by Nov. 23 on $1.2 trillion or more in deficit reductions over a decade.

“The Wichita facility faces pressures because of product and services contracts that have matured and expired, and limited prospects for future work,” the statement said. “We are in the process of engaging key stakeholders — including customers, government officials and union representatives — to share this information as we continue to have open and candid discussions about the challenges we face in the current budget and economic environment.”

The statement also said the options being reviewed include “the potential closure of the Wichita site.”

The community had hoped the number of jobs at the facility would grow after Boeing won a contract worth at least $35 billion to build 179 refueling tankers. The modification work on the planes is expected to be done at Boeing’s Wichita plant. But that facility is facing the end of some programs, such as the international tanker program that supplied refueling tankers to other countries.

Over the summer, Boeing announced it would cut 225 jobs at its Wichita defense plant through the end of this year.

“Boeing has promised publicly and repeatedly in writing that the success in winning the tanker contract would mean ‘7,500 jobs’ in Kansas, including several hundred jobs at Boeing-Wichita for the Tanker Finishing Center,” Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas’ congressional delegation said in a statement. “We expect the company to honor that commitment.”

The Wichita facility, which specializes in modifying commercial aircraft for military or government operations, has 2,100 employees. Boeing spun off its commercial aircraft operation there several years ago.

Bartlett said he couldn’t comment beyond the news release.

Comments

Steve Jacob 3 years, 6 months ago

Government spending and cuts both have repercussions.

Neomarxist123 3 years, 6 months ago

I hope the National Labor Relations Board approves this move. Apparently, they get to tell companies where to go and what to do.

Godot 3 years, 6 months ago

Read between the lines. Obama's NRLB blocks Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina because SC is a right-to-work state. Kansas is a right-to-work state. Doubtful that any non-unionized corporation in Kansas will win any contracts under the Obama administration. Beechcraft has been shut out of contract bidding for a USAF contract after meeting all the requirements...wonder why?

The Obama job-killing juggernaut rolls on..

progressive_thinker 3 years, 6 months ago

Typical right wing response. Unsupported conclusions and rhetoric, followed by finger pointing at Obama.

Could the Hawker-Beachcraft decision have had something to do with their financial stability? Remember they had to get a 40 million dollar handout [corporate welfare] from the citizens of Kansas. Or could it have something to do with Hawker-Beechcrafts problems with defrauding the federal government by improperly charging for parts in 2007, or could it have something to do with their current lawsuit for firing two whistle blowers who alleged fraud and dangerous practices regarding the JPATS program. Interesting that Hawker-Beechcraft was awarded this contract only months after they were spun off from Raytheon, When the aircraft manufacturing operation was owned by Raytheon, it had a history of misconduct as a government contractor.

cowboy 3 years, 6 months ago

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JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 6 months ago

Governor Brownback took credit for Mars opening a plant in Topeka. Will he accept the blame for Boeing closing in Wichita? I thought not...

Gedanken 3 years, 6 months ago

I guess all that time Kansans put into fighting for the tanker contract was just a waste ...

cowboy 3 years, 6 months ago

nah snap , I'm not cranky but a lot of DOD money is driven by political issues. Kansas with a Republican admin who has been absolutely anti Obama should expect no favors. Just stating the obvious.

Armstrong 3 years, 6 months ago

The loss of Boeing in Wichita would be crushing not just to the Boeing workers but all the support businesses there as well.

blindrabbit 3 years, 6 months ago

Let Charles Koch use the site for a new Koch-a-Kola plant; then hire all of the right wingers that populate Wichita.

Armstrong 3 years, 6 months ago

What an informed and profound statement.

riverdrifter 3 years, 6 months ago

Boeing has been trending away from Wichita for decades. I think the town is pretty much convinced they're gone.

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