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Boeing sending about 1,000 Kent workers to Tukwila in defense shuffling

An engine and part of a wing from the 100th 787 Dreamliner to be built at Boeing of South Carolina's North Charleston, S.C., facility are seen outside the plant. Boeing on Tuesday announced thousands of jobs shuffling in its company.
An engine and part of a wing from the 100th 787 Dreamliner to be built at Boeing of South Carolina's North Charleston, S.C., facility are seen outside the plant. Boeing on Tuesday announced thousands of jobs shuffling in its company. Associated Press file, 2016

Boeing said Tuesday it will close some defense and space facilities around the country during the next four years, reducing its overall footprint by approximately 4.5 million square feet and moving the work of thousands of employees to new sites.

Spokesman Ken Smith said Boeing expects “few if any job losses from today’s announcement in Washington state.”

However, about 1,000 defense-side workers will be moved from the company’s Kent site, which has been shrinking for some years, to Tukwila.

About 1,600 positions in Huntington Beach, California, will move to plants in other Southern California locations — El Segundo, Long Beach and Seal Beach. About 500 positions will move to St. Louis County in Missouri, and 400 will shift to Huntsville, Alabama.

Chicago-based Boeing will close a plant that employs 290 people in in El Paso, Texas, and one that employs 70 people in Newington, Virginia.

The Huntington Beach plant will remain open.

“In order to push ourselves farther and win more business, we need to make the most of our resources and talent,” Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said in a statement. “These steps will help us be a stronger partner for our customers worldwide.”

The company said it will align Boeing Defence Australia, Boeing Defense Saudi Arabia and Boeing Defence United Kingdom into a new global operations group, led by David Pitchforth, managing director of Boeing Defence U.K.

Meanwhile, United Airlines will convert the bulk of two orders for Boeing’s best-selling narrowbody jetliner to the planemaker’s newest variant.

The Chicago-based airline is changing its orders for 65 Boeing jets from all 737-700s to four 737-800s and 61 737 Maxes.

United said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday that it expects to receive the 737-800s next year, while delivery dates for the 737 Max jets are “to be determined.”

“These changes will allow United to take advantage of the superior fuel efficiency of the MAX aircraft while also reducing capital expenditures by approximately $1.6 billion through 2018,” the airline said in its filing.

The order change comes before Boeing planned to increase its monthly production rate on the 737 from 42 aircraft a month to 47.

The Associated Press, The Seattle Times, and The Wichita Eagle contributed to this report

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