The Boeing Company has told its employees that it plans to close its massive defense plant in Wichita before the end of 2013, and some of those jobs will move to Oklahoma.
Wednesday's announcement means the loss of 2,100 well-paying jobs at its Kansas facility, which was once considered the centerpiece of Wichita's claim as the air capital of the world.
It's a bid to cut costs in a tight market for defense spending.
It also dashes hopes for an additional 7,500 direct and indirect jobs that the company once promised to bring to Wichita with the Air Force air refueling tanker contract.
"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," said Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for BDS' Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division.
"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."
Some of those jobs will come to Oklahoma. Engineering work will be placed at the Boeing facility in Oklahoma City.
Governor Mary Fallin issued this statement after hearing of Boeing's decision:
"This is a difficult time for Boeing employees who have been impacted by the decision to close the Wichita facility, and my heart goes out to those men and women. However, as with the recent relocation of Boeing staff from California to the Boeing Oklahoma City facility, our state stands ready to welcome all employees and their families who will now call Oklahoma home. Oklahoma City is a wonderful community and a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. I know Boeing employees will agree."
"My administration has worked very closely with The Boeing Company to ensure that Oklahoma has both a competitive business climate and a high quality of life for any employees that might be located here. It's a tribute to Oklahoma's progress and forward momentum that we have been chosen as a relocation site."
Work will also move to Boeing facilities in Texas and Washington.
Job reductions at the Wichita facility are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2013.