After years of drama and debate, paperwork mishaps and an advertising battle royale waged on the area’s airwaves, the long-awaited Air Force tanker contract has finally been awarded.
And the most pressing questions on everyone’s minds: What does it mean for the economy? What about jobs?
Boeing expects the design, development, manufacturing and deliverance phases of the initial 18 KC-46A tankers to be delivered by 2017 will bring approximately 50,000 U.S. jobs across 40 states. The project will also provide work for more than 800 suppliers.
Boeing’s Washington state employees breathed a sigh of relief on hearing the announcement. The company said the contract secures 11,000 aerospace related jobs in the area.
“As we start rolling people off the 787 and 747-8, we’re really pleased to have the tanker so we can take those experienced engineers and put them on this program,” said Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division.
According to Boeing spokesman Bill Barksdale, the contract will bring 7,500 jobs to Kansas alone. Work done on the tanker at the company’s Wichita plant could bring as much as $388 million a year to the area, securing existing jobs and creating new ones with the company and suppliers.
California expects the contract will add 4,500 jobs. Boeing’s tanker design draws on materials created by Californian suppliers such as Raytheon in El Segundo, Alarin Aircraft Hinge Inc. in the City of Commerce and Lamsco West Inc. in Santa Clarita.
While most of the impending job creation will be seen outside of the metro area, Boeing stockholders worldwide are already seeing the contract’s positive impact on the company. Stock shares jumped 4 percent in premarket trading today.