Wichita (KS) politicians continue to grouse about the decision by Boeing to close the defense operations there and move jobs to Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Puget Sound (Seattle).
The Seattle Times has this article, quoting the Wichita mayor and other officials. The portion of the article that caught our eye is this:
“We thought we had a marriage,” said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, who until his 2007 election was a business manager at Spirit AeroSystems, the airplane-manufacturing operation sold off by Boeing two years earlier.
“It’s taken a lot of work for us to control our outrage,” he said. “So don’t ask me… are you outraged, because the answer will be yes, with probably another four-letter word attached to it.”
Kansas politicians feel particularly “angry and disappointed and dismayed,” as one county commissioner put it, because they led the Republican flank of the decadelong congressional push to secure the $35 billion Air Force tanker contract for Boeing.
In return they were told the company and its suppliers would generate 7,500 direct and indirect jobs after Boeing clinched the contract last February.
“We as a community demonstrated our loyalty to the Boeing Company when they asked us to stand behind them and to go fight for them,” Brewer said.
Now he’s singing a different tune. “Don’t think for one second that we are not exploring our opportunities to go out and recruit Airbus… We are making those phone calls.”
Well, that’s going to be a tough sell. During the tanker competition, Kansas politicians, notably then-Sen. Sam Brownback (now governor) and ex-Congressman Todd Tiahrt (a former Boeing employee as well) couldn’t say enough bad things about Airbus is their campaign for Boeing’s tanker. Tiahrt was particularly vitriolic, though Brownback was no shrinking violet, either.
Their comments so offended Airbus and EADS that when Airbus was considering whether to expand its engineering center there, some at EADS not only suggested Airbus do so elsewhere, they suggested closing the center entirely and relocating it somewhere more friendly–like Mobile (AL).
Now that Boeing has made a financial decision to close its defense operations in Wichita, suddenly Airbus is the flavor of the week?
We don’t think Airbus is going to be so quick to forget. Kansas politicians will have a lot of fence-mending to do.
Now-Gov. Brownback wants to recruit Airbus. Good luck. Nothing like insulting someone for years then turning around and asking for favors.
Speaking of tankers, France plans to order the Airbus KC-30, a foregone conclusion. But for all the whining from France about the US decision to buy Boeing, we’ll note that no competition was run in France for this tanker contract, although the Wall Street Journal reports the KC-767 was looked at.