ATW Editor's Blog

Bad time to Dream


In what probably earns this month's "bad timing" award, Boeing has just announced that the first destination in the second leg of its 787 Dreamliner Dream Tour is ... Wichita.

Boeing announced just eight days earlier, in a Jan. 4 statement, that it will close the Wichita plant where it converts airliner frames into military tankers by the end of next year, thus abandoning the Kansas city.

Boeing says in a press release that the visit will allow people at Wichita-based Spirit Aerosystems and Boeing employees to see the Dreamliner. Given the new uncertainty about the future of their jobs among those more than 2,100 Boeing Wichita employees, however, the local mood to Dream may be absent.

But even supposing that employees are happy to get a first-hand look at the 787, Kansas lawmakers and local officials may be less willing to celebrate. Many are complaining publicly that they were instrumental in helping win the U.S. Air Force's new tanker program because they understood from Boeing that it would guarantee continued jobs in the area; some are accusing Boeing of breaking its promise.

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