Boeing jobs headed for OKC could be in jeopardy

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OKLAHOMA CITY — High paying jobs, once headed from California to the metro, may be in jeopardy. An announcement by the Pentagon could impact Boeing’s future plans for Oklahoma City.

The defense department plans to cut almost $500 billion over the next decade.

That’s left companies like Boeing with tough choices.

It also means nearly half of the company’s 550 jobs being relocated from California may be eliminated.

An Air Force letter stated, “As budgets are in decline… we are slowing the pace and scope of modernization.”

“It’s absolutely a concern with this announcement,” Cynthia Ried said, with the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.

The Air Force letter continues, “We eliminated expensive programs… such as the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program.”

Those are the very jobs the company planned to relocate from California.

Ried says the announcement is disappointing but not surprising.

“We’ve known for a while that the military defense industry is under cost pressures from the federal government,” Reid said.

Boeing officials say so far their contract hasn’t been officially canceled.

A written statement explained, “TheU.S. Air Force has notified Boeing of a postponement to the C-130 AMP.  We have given our word to work on this contract and we will continue to support our U.S. Air Force customer.”

“We’re gonna see more changes until the federal government, Boeing’s customer, makes the final decision we won’t know what’s going to happen in Oklahoma City,” Reid said.

There is some good news; Boeing still plans to transfer more than 800 jobs from Kansas to Oklahoma City over the next two years.

“We do anticipate Boeing will continue to grow here,” Reid said. “Oklahoma offers real advantages for this industry or it wouldn’t have seen the growth with these new Boeing jobs.”

Right now Boeing employs nearly 1,000 people in the metro.

The company could still have as many as 2,000 jobs locally by the end of 2013.

Additional information on the Boeing jobs will be available after Pres. Obama unveils his 2013 budget.

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