Oklahoma City to get 550 jobs from aircraft maker Boeing

Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing is moving 550 jobs to Oklahoma City by the end of 2012.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: August 3, 2010 at 10:35 am •  Published: August 2, 2010

It's kind of like "The Grapes of Wrath" in reverse.

The Great Depression caused many Oklahomans to head west in search of a better life in the 1930s.

Now aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing is moving more than 500 engineering jobs from California to Oklahoma to cut costs as the country struggles to emerge from the Great Recession.

Boeing will relocate its C-130 Avionics Modernization and B-1 programs from Long Beach, Calif., beginning in early 2011, the company announced Monday. Officials said the move will help the company keep its services affordable and competitive.

"Making a decision like this is never easy, but as we reviewed our anticipated operating costs for the next several years, it became clear that Boeing needs to take major actions on these programs in order to remain affordable for our customers," said Mark Bass, general manager of Boeing's Maintenance, Modifications and Upgrades division. "We remain committed to maintaining the excellent record of performance that our employees deliver for our U.S. Air Force B-1 and C-130 AMP customers during this transition."

Gov. Brad Henry said the looming move will be a boon for Boeing and Oklahoma.

"Because of our rich aviation history and strong business climate, I think Oklahoma is a perfect fit for the Boeing expansion," Henry said. "We will benefit from the company's growth and exemplary corporate culture, and Boeing will prosper because of Oklahoma's proven track record of supporting and growing the aviation and aerospace industry.

"The Boeing-Oklahoma partnership will be beneficial for everyone."

Oklahoma Commerce Secretary Natalie Shirley said the Boeing announcement was exciting news for the state.

"Any day that includes the announcement of 550 new high-quality jobs in Oklahoma is a great one," she said. "Commerce and the (Greater) Oklahoma City Chamber have worked closely to make this type of event possible.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President Roy Williams said Boeing chose to move here after an intense courtship that carried on for more than six months.

To get a company like Boeing to make such a "substantial move to our market area speaks very highly of Oklahoma City and what we're trying to do here," Williams said.

Williams said Boeing has not given local officials any specifics about the jobs coming to Oklahoma City, but they will be good ones.

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