Business is booming at Boeing in Tulsa

Friday, September 24th 2004, 9:12 am
By: News On 6

Its big business for Boeing. The company announced that down-payments have been made on 200 of the company's new 7E7 jetliners.

It's the most pre-payments for any new product in Boeing’s history. News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg has more.

It’s good news for Tulsa because the Boeing plant in Tulsa is making wing parts for the 7E7.And the hiring has already begun. Kathy Lyons and Gina Jenkins have worked at the Tulsa Boeing plant for 20 years. They'll be joined soon by designers who are in Washington state, gearing up for the 7E7. Gina Jenkins: "We can hardly wait for them to come back with the new concepts and the design that we're going to go forward with."

News of the 200 down payments on the 7E7 has morale flying high. It wasn't that long ago when Boeing scrapped its Sonic Cruiser project. Kathy Lyons: “We had our hopes up on that and it didn't go anywhere, so when we saw the orders come on the 7E7, it was a real motivator for the employees at Boeing Tulsa."

Boeing managing director Don Carlisle: "It's the most successful program we've ever had.”

There’s a lot less worry now about the 7E7. Because you can design and build all you want, but ultimately it has to sell. And Boeing says they've never such good initial interest in a new product. "Traditionally, history shows us that once people put a deposit on their plane, they really do intend to buy the airplane."

Kathy and Gina would like to retire here and it's looking more and more like the 7E7 will get them there. Gina Jenkins: “It means job security not only for us, but for future employees."

Right now, the Tulsa plant has hired about 50 people, mostly engineers and designers. But when the 7E7 goes into full production mode, they expect to add 500 workers in Tulsa.