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Bidding war for Boeing 777x jobs

By Anne Meyer, ameyer@kwch.com
Published On: Dec 03 2013 04:54:29 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2013 05:42:11 PM CST
WICHITA, Kan. -

Missouri is trying to lure Boeing jobs to the state. Lawmakers there finalized a $1.7 billion incentive package to entice the aviation company to build it's new 777x in St. Louis.

Kansas is vying for the same jobs, but experts believe our state is low on the company's list.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is on a campaign to land Boeing manufacturing jobs. On Tuesday, state lawmakers wrapped up a special session to come up with an incentive package.

"I think everyone appreciates and understands that we have tight time frames here," Governor Nixon said. "We are going to be open and transparent and try to make sure in this opportunity that we put our best foot forward."

The option came up last month, after the machinist union in Seattle voted down Boeing's latest contact offer. They were supposed to build the 777x in Washington State. That vote caused Boeing executives to look to other states for that work.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback confirms he's talked to Boeing about the project, and is exploring options. When asked what specific incentives Kansas was prepared to offer, his office gave us this statement: "There is much in Kansas that makes it an attractive option for a company like Boeing to consider as a site for its 777x manufacturing."

Kansas has had a long history with Boeing. Brownback also mentioned our skilled workforce, particularly in the Air Capital. Plus Spirit Aerosystems is here, it will make some parts for the 777x. All give Kansas an advantage.

But the state is clearly land-locked and that could be a negative in the deal. Boeing wants this project near a sea-port, which is why aviation exerts say other states like California, Alabama and South Carolina are topping the list.

Other experts feel this bidding frenzy is a ploy to get a better deal from machinists and in the end Boeing may keep the work in Seattle.

A decision is expected in the next 2 or 3 months.

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