By Eyewitness News
11:21 AM CST, January 4, 2012
Mayor Carl Brewer
Today’s announcement that the Boeing Company would pull out of Wichita by the end of 2013 was a harsh message for our community.
The loss of 2,100 jobs will deal a severe blow to our local economy, and I offer my deepest condolences to the families who will be directly affected by this development.
Although it is difficult to see anything positive in this announcement, we still have reason to be optimistic for our community’s future.
Wichita is still the Air Capital of the World, and the home to the highest qualified cadre of aviation workers. Boeing’s decision was Boeing’s to make, but we still hold the keys to our own future.
General aviation is showing signs of a rebound from the past few years of economic downturn. We are also optimistic about the future of commercial aviation manufacturing in south-central Kansas.
Our first action will be to call our community partners together to launch an aggressive campaign of job recruitment and retention. We will leave no stone unturned as we seek an expansion of our existing aviation cluster, as well as developing a diversified economic foundation in areas such as health care, energy and technology.
We will make specific overtures to companies such as AirBus, who have secured a foothold in our local economy and offer an opportunity for more high-skill, high-wage jobs in the future.
We are encouraged by recent announcements about the production of the LearJet 85 at Mid-Continent Airport and the creation of an Engineering Excellence Center. The continued success of the National Center for Aviation Training and the National Institute for Aviation Research will preserve our unique place as the leading aviation manufacturing community in the nation.
Our disappointment in Boeing’s decision to abandon its 80-year relationship with Wichita and the State of Kansas will not diminish any time soon. The City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and the State of Kansas have invested far too many taxpayer dollars in the past development of the Boeing Company to take this announcement lightly.
But the optimism and progressive attitude of our community will persevere, and we expect to far exceed the expectations we may have had before this unfortunate announcement.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-4)
The Boeing Company announced in November that it was studying the future of its Wichita site, including whether to close the facility near 47th Street South and Oliver. Today, Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-04) provided the following statement regarding Boeing’s announced intention to shutter the Boeing-Wichita facility by the end of 2013. The KC-46A Tanker work will move to Washington state, the engineering work will go to Oklahoma City, and San Antonio will handle the defense modification work.
“Today’s statement from Boeing is terrible news. It is a confession that it will not honor its commitment to Kansas. Those Kansas purchases Boeing announced are not new work, but rather a function of increased build rates on already promised work in Kansas. Boeing’s statement confirms that it will indeed break years and years of promises.
“Two weeks ago, I informed Kansans that Boeing no longer intended to finish the KC-46A Refueling Tanker in Wichita, and intended to move work on Air Force One out of Kansas as well, thus jeopardizing the future of the Boeing-Wichita facility. At the time, joined by area civic and union leaders, I called on Boeing to keep its promise and come to the negotiating table. I shared with you then the details about what I knew to be true. Additionally, I continued to hope Boeing would do the right thing and honor its commitment. I worked—and will continue to work—to encourage Boeing to keep its word.
“Regrettably, we have now learned that Boeing will not only walk away from its commitment to the people of Kansas to finish the KC-46A tanker here, but it will also leave the state altogether—a state that helped make Boeing successful for more than 80 years and a state whose pride in its heritage with Boeing is second to none. Do not be fooled by Boeing’s announcement that it will continue to rely on sub-supplier work in Kansas. While economically important, that development is not news. That work in no way substitutes for the decade of promises made by the Boeing Company with regard to defense work on the KC-46A tanker at the Boeing-Wichita facility.
“As I pledged two weeks ago, I will continue to do everything I can to encourage Boeing to make this situation right by providing promised jobs to Kansans. I continue to be mystified by Boeing’s willingness to squander the eight decades of goodwill it has built up with the people of Kansas.
“As I have said repeatedly—both publicly and to Boeing—Boeing, like every company, has the right to change its business plans and operate in the best interests of its stakeholders. What neither Boeing, nor any other company, has the right to do is make false statements, violate long-held commitments to communities or to receive federal contracts based on representations that it knows are not accurate. The fact that Boeing now appears determined to leave our state will not prevent me from seeking to hold the company accountable for its promises and commitments,” stated Pompeo.
Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas)
“No one worked harder for the success of the Boeing Company than Team Kansas -whose membership included the outstanding workforce, city and county officials, state legislators, governors, and the congressional delegation - and I have been pleased to do my part as a U.S. Senator for 14 years and as Governor during the last year. We have been there with the company through every battle, whether it was the 10 year tanker battle or securing funding for other key Boeing Defense programs vital to national security. Our team never wavered, always keeping its commitment to the success of the Boeing Company for the good of the state and of the nation.
“Today’s announcement on the phase out of Boeing’s presence in Wichita is very disappointing to all of us. We are deeply saddened Boeing Defense at the end of this transition period will no longer have operations in Kansas. Wichita has been at the company’s operations core since 1929 with the production of Kaydet Trainers and B-29 Bombers during WWII, B-47 & B-52 Bombers during the 1950’s & 60’s, modification of various airframes during the following years from tankers to Air Force One. The dedication and hard work of generations of Kansans built the success the Boeing Company enjoys today.
“The bottom line for Kansas is jobs. During this time of transition, my Administration will work with Team Kansas to aggressively pursue the booming commercial opportunities that exist with both Boeing and Airbus. Wichita still has world-class facilities and 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 which is in a growth pattern.
“My Administration and the delegation will work with all of those impacted by this transition from a defense focus to the growing commercial market to make it as smooth as possible. With any change, there comes uncertainty and issues and questions that can’t be answered at the beginning of the process, but we are committed to working together as Kansans have always done to address these issues going forward.”
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)
“I have been honored to represent and work hard for Boeing and their talented employees for more than a decade, including helping to wage a long, but successful fight to win back the tanker contract.
“Boeing's chairman sat in my office 22 months ago during that battle and promised me, then-Senator Brownback and Congressman Tiahrt that if we won the fight to get the tanker contract back, Boeing would stay in Wichita. The chairman again promised the entire delegation the work would remain in Wichita just last February, when the tanker contract was settled in Boeing's favor.
“Today's announcement by Boeing’s leadership is hugely disappointing to me, but more importantly to the thousands of workers whose livelihoods are affected by this decision. No lawmaker can compel a private company’s economic decisions, although Governor Brownback and the congressional delegation together have made the best arguments possible for Wichita.
“While it would be easy for me to react to this very unfortunate decision with anger and resentment, that won't save a single job. Instead, I intend to roll up my sleeves and look forward, working with Governor Brownback, my delegation colleagues and other state and local leaders to promote the Air Capital of the World.”
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)“Today I join thousands of Kansans who are outraged by the announcement that Boeing will be closing its Wichita defense facility – leaving the future for hundreds of Kansas workers in jeopardy. As recently as 10 months ago, I joined these workers and local and state officials in Wichita to celebrate Boeing’s victory in the tanker competition. During the competition for the contract, Boeing pledged that a win would bring approximately 7,500 jobs to Kansas, including hundreds of Boeing jobs associated with the finishing work on the new tankers. It is hard to believe that conditions would have changed so rapidly over the past few months to bring about the decision to not only move the tanker finishing work elsewhere, but to also close down the entire facility. The fact that Boeing is now refusing to honor its commitment to the people of Kansas is greatly troubling to me and to thousands of Kansans who trusted that Boeing’s promise would be kept.
“Furthermore, it was merely six weeks ago when Boeing officials announced they were studying the future of the Wichita site. In this short amount of time, I have urged Boeing leadership to meet with state and local officials to discuss alternatives to the closure of its facility. To my dismay, Boeing’s senior leadership chose not to meet with local Wichita officials or even give them a serious opportunity to work together on a different plan for the future. I am astonished Boeing would make such a hasty decision without considering all of the alternatives or the significant impact this decision will have.
“A company so much a part of the Wichita community for 80 years should not make this decision lightly. I strongly urge Boeing’s senior leaders to reconsider this decision that will have a devastating impact on hundreds of Kansas families. Boeing has been a vital part of our community and we want them to remain in Wichita for many years to come. In the days ahead, I will continue to do all I can to encourage Boeing to fulfill their pledge to the Wichita community.”
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV