Boeing Company has announced it will restructure its Wichita operations by laying off about 900 workers or 25 percent of the current work force at the plant. Citing defense budget cuts and delays, the company will focus plant operations on military 747 and wide-body aircraft modifications and upgrades. Boeing plans to continue its engineering center, focusing their work in Wichita on the B-52 Stratofortress and other defense and civil aviation related business.
Boeing will issue 60-day layoff notices to 360 workers on Tuesday, with an additional 240 employees losing their jobs by the end of July and 300 more job cuts in mid-November. By the beginning of 2007, the Wichita defense plant will have about 2,700 workers.
According to a Boeing spokesperson, the restructuring plan will put its Integrated Defense Systems in Wichita in the best position to succeed. The plan calls for a management move of the KC-135 program and a number of light engineering jobs to its Oklahoma City site later this year.
The U.S. defense procurement budget was in the mid-$50 billion range in 2002. Now it is more than double that, at $109 billion, not including the costs of operations and maintenance.