The Boeing Company today announced that the Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) facility in Wichita, KS, will close by the end of 2013. It currently employs more than 2,160 employees.
The work will move to Boeing facilities in Washington state, Texas and Oklahoma. But the exact facilities where the work will move to have not yet been announced.
Boeing Wichita is the base for the company's Global Transport & Executive Systems business and its B-52 and 767 International Tanker programs. The facility also provides support for flight mission planning and integrated logistics.
"Mayor Carl Brewer of Wichita supported my call to mayors throughout the nation to support an American-built tanker," Everett Mayor Stephanson told the Herald. "I was grateful for his support and am saddened for the workers and families in Wichita. That said, Everett stands ready to support additional aerospace work in the Puget Sound Region."
Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, in a statement, said: “Today’s news that Boeing will close its Wichita facility is difficult for the many families involved, especially in light of the current economy. I would not wish such hardship upon anybody.
“Yet, with the KC-46 Tanker program coming to the Puget Sound, Snohomish County stands ready, including continuing to train and provide the most skilled aerospace workers in the state, if not the nation. This decision underscores the fact that the Puget Sound is one of the most competitive regions in the country for aerospace manufacturing.
“The goal for Snohomish County is that we continue to produce world-class airplanes, whether for commercial or defense purposes.”
Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for BDS' Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division, said in a news release that the decision to close the Wichita facility was based on "our ability to remain competitive while meeting our customers' needs with the best and most affordable solutions."
Boeing's news release said that, 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.
The complete closure of the Wichita site is scheduled for the end of 2013.