Boeing to add at least 500 jobs in Tulsa

Thursday, November 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Tulsa will manufacture parts of Boeing Co.'s new 7E7 jet, the airline announced Thursday. The plans will bring at least 500 new jobs, Govenor Brad Henry said.

Boeing's Tulsa factory will build the fixed and movable leading edges of the jet's wing, Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement. The work will be added in 2004, Rep. Brad Carson, D-Okla., said.

Other parts of the efficient jetliner will be built in Washington, Kansas, Texas, Canada, Japan and Australia. The parts will be transported to a final assembly plant that has yet to be located.

Tulsa is also bidding for the final assembly plant, which could bring as much as 1,200 jobs and thousands of accompanying jobs at vendor companies.

Tulsa County voters in August approved $350 million in incentives to lure the aerospace giant. Boeing will announce the plant's location next month.

Henry said the jobs working on the wing edges would be high-paying, high-tech jobs.

``The company is making a powerful statement about the state's pro-business environment and the caliber of our work force,'' Henry said. ``This news also bolsters our state's role as a key player in the aviation industry.''

New jobs at Boeing is another victory for Tulsa as it tries to maintain employment levels in its critical aviation industry.

American Airlines, Tulsa's largest employer, recently announced it would bring more work to its maintenance plant here to work on 737s. The company cited $22.3 million in incentives voters approved in August.

``From Wiley Post and Spartan Aeronautics to giants like Boeing, American Airlines and Nordam, Oklahoma's rich history of aerospace will pave the way to full economic recovery,'' said Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla.

Tulsa lost thousands of jobs in the last two years _ losing jobs faster than any city outside of Silicon Valley _ as major employers like American, Williams Cos., WilTel Communications and MCI had large layoffs.

The layoffs prompted Tulsa County voters to pass an $885 million sales tax increase including the American and Boeing incentives and for other economic development projects, including an 18,000 seat downtown arena.