Boeing's future in Tulsa

Monday, January 26th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

More speculation surfaced Monday about the future of Tulsa's Boeing plant.

The Seattle Times reports Boeing is exploring the sale of its plants in Tulsa and Wichita, Kansas. News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson has been monitoring reports from Seattle and Wichita.

Tulsa's Boeing plant was riding high on news of more work coming to town. Now, there's talk that Boeing is considering selling the whole thing.

The Seattle Times reported Sunday that Boeing is exploring the sale of several facilities. The Times obtained an internal Boeing document that outlined plant closings and sales.

According to that document, Boeing's presence in the United States would be cut in half, and its workforce cut by 10,000. Boeing leaders would not confirm or deny the Times report. They say they do not comment on rumors regarding acquisitions, mergers, or sales.

But it's no secret that Boeing is shifting its business model away from building airplanes start to finish. The Times says Boeing is focusing on design and final assembly, but the work in the middle is being done by suppliers. Local financial analyst Fredric Russell says that kind of a plan puts plants that build specific parts like Tulsa's in jeopardy. "It may be that someone else specializes in those parts and they can afford to buy the plant and they can afford to do it for you better than you can."

The Seattle Times article did not report a timetable for the possible sale of these plants or potential buyers. The local union did not return our phone calls.