A worker sands the top of a plane at Boeing's plant in Wichita, Kan.

Larry W. Smith / Getty Images

Aggressiveness and Infrastructure Drove Boeing Jobs from Wichita to OKC

  • Joe Wertz

Larry W. Smith / Getty Images

A worker sands the top of a plane at Boeing's plant in Wichita, Kan.

Oklahoma City is on track to take more than 800 jobs from Wichita, and folks in Kansas are asking questions.

Why would Boeing sever historic ties and move its C-130 Hercules and B-1 Lancer programs to OKC?

From Wichita Eagle reporter Molly McMillin’s industry postmortem:

Oklahoma City’s facility has a good track record, performs well and has space available, Michael Emmelhainz, Boeing’s site leader for Oklahoma City told the paper. And costs are lower.

Faced with overhead costs, upcoming defense cuts and “little hope of bringing more work in,” Boeing in January announced plans to close the Wichita facilities, the Eagle reports. Some work is being moved to San Antonio and Washington state, but 800-900 workers will start transferring to OKC this fall.

And construction crews in OKC are building a new six-story office building for Boeing, which will soon grow to 2,000 workers. The building and its related costs are a big part Boeing’s move, the paper reports.

That’s mainly because Boeing leases a four-story, 200,000-square-foot office building along with the 320,000-square-foot office building under construction. Workers there are moving into the first floor while work continues on the remaining floors.

“When you lease just a couple buildings and do things in a low-cost manner like that, it makes a good business case,” Emmelhainz said, “It really ends up being about building space and total infrastructure and costs associated with that.”

Oklahoma lawmakers and business leaders have made an impression with their aggressive appetite for the aviation industry, the Eagle reports.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that they would love to have every aerospace and engineering operation in San Antonio pick up and move to Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” Jim Perschbach, a San Antonio lawyer who heads the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Committee, tells the paper.