Goodbye, Old Paint

Competition with smaller companies having less overhead is one of the reasons that Boeing will quit its defense operations in Wichita, Kan., after 80 years, said Mark Bass, a company vice president, during a press conference Wednesday. Bass noted that Boeing has 97 buildings encompassing more than two million square feet at its facility in Wichita, but is competing against small companies with “two hangars and an office building.” As the company’s work on other programs in Wichita dries up, its KC-46A tanker modification work there would have had to absorb more of the overhead, and that would have “become unaffordable for our customer,” he said. Industry observers pointed out that Boeing will reap large savings by relocating the KC-46 modification plant not very far from its 767 production facilities in Seattle. Also, all B-52 modification work in Wichita will move to Oklahoma City, Okla., near Tinker Air Force Base where the bombers receive depot maintenance. Work on Air Force One also will shift from Wichita to Oklahoma City for engineering and program management, while physical mods will be done in San Antonio. Work on other executive transports like the C-32, will move to Puget Sound, Wash.