Boeing warned Monday that Pentagon cuts forced by the failure of the congressional super committee may lead it to close its military plane plant in Wichita, Kan.
The factory employs more than 2,100 people in the area, working to upgrade military aircraft like the B-52 bomber and refueling tankers.
CBS News reported that the Pentagon has been working to prevent a $500 billion automatic, across-the-board defense budget cut (to be spread over 10 years) after the bipartisan super committee announced Monday that it could not agree to measures aimed at a $1.2 trillion reduction in deficit.
According to Boeing's statement, the Wichita plant is under pressure as a result of product and services contracts that have matured and expired, and limited prospects for future work. Spokesman Jarrod Bartlett said Boeing was in the process of engaging key stakeholders - including customers, government officials and union representatives - to share this information as we continue to have open and candid discussions about the challenges we face in the current budget and economic environment.
The U.S. Air Force's decision to award Boeing a $35 billion contract to build approximately 200 airborne refueling tankers was expected to boost the ailing company, particularly since, according to a MSNBC report, a bulk of the jobs so generated would have been centered in Washington state and Kansas. But the reported termination of some programs like the international tanker program (which supplied refueling tankers to other countries) led the company to reconsider and review the future of the Wichita plant.