Boeing to Close its Facility in Wichita, Kan., by Late 2013

The company cited defense-budget cuts 'as well as shifting customer priorities' for the closure of the facility, which employs more than 2,160 people.

Boeing Co. said it will close its Wichita, Kan., facility by the end of 2013, asserting that defense-budget cuts "as well as shifting customer priorities" prompted the decision.

The facility, operated by the Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) unit, employs more than 2,160 people.

"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," said Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for BDS' Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division."

Job cuts will begin in the third quarter of 2012, Bass added.

The Wichita facility is the hub for Boeing'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.

"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 company said in a news release.

Future aircraft maintenance, modification and support work will move to Boeing facility's in San Antonio, while engineering work will move to its facility in Oklahoma City, the company said.

Work on the KC-46 aerial-refueling tanker for the Air Force will shift to Boeing's site in Puget Sound, Wash., although the company noted that "the 24 Kansas suppliers on the program will be providing vital elements of the aircraft as originally planned."

"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," Bass said.

"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."

Boeing said it is providing retirement seminars, job-search resources, financial counseling and job-placement assistance to workers at the facility.

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