Boeing to leave Wichita in 2013 after 85 years

Wichita EagleJanuary 5, 2012 

WICHITA — A company that helped Wichita become known as the Air Capital of the World is leaving.

Boeing, one of the city’s iconic manufacturers, said it will close its sprawling facilities in south Wichita by the end of 2013.

The decision ends Boeing’s 85-year history with the city and affects 2,160 workers in Wichita, their families and the community.

“It’s tremendously disappointing for a company that’s been here since” 1927, said Steve Rooney, Machinists District 70 directing business representative. “I never thought I’d see an Air Capital of the World without Boeing.”

For decades, Boeing was a major Wichita employer, and generations of Kansans worked there. During World War II, it became a vital center of military production, building trainers and the B-29 Superfortress.

The closing comes less than a year after Boeing and state officials celebrated the company winning a huge contract with the Air Force to build a new generation of aerial refueling tankers. Wichita’s site, according to Boeing officials, would be the finishing center for the tankers.

But Boeing officials said cuts to the nation’s defense budget and high overhead costs at the Wichita plant led them to Wednesday’s announcement.

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