What’s Up with the Boeing Wichita to San Antonio Move?

A sign on the entrance to the "Boom Shop" at Boeing's San Antonio KC-135 and C-17 maintenance depot. (Photo by Marcus Weisgerber)

Boeing is being tight-lipped about moving its Air Force One and E-4B “Doomsday Plane” maintenance operations from Wichita to San Antonio, but it’s clear something is afoot.

During a week-long media tour that made stops at several Boeing aircraft repair and upgrade facilities – including San Antonio – officials were hesitant to discuss the move, which will impact about 2,100 people in Kansas.

A clue (see photo above) about the pending move emerged during a tour of the C-17 and KC-135 maintenance depot hangar. I presume they meant transition, not “transistion.”

The sign was on the door to the “Boom Shop,” where KC-135 refueling booms are repaired. Officials at the work site said the group could not tour that area due to “export control” restrictions.

Boeing officials in San Antonio acknowledged the Air Force One and E-4B overhaul work was heading there, but said the specifics are still being finalized.

Judging by the sign, one could surmise that some type of boom work will be transferred to the San Antonio. Boeing currently works on its international KC-767 tankers — which are flow by Japan and Italy — in Wichita.

The company was supposed to convert 767 aircraft into U.S. Air Force tankers in Wichita, however, when it announced the site closure, it said that work would be done in Washington State.

Aside from C-17 and KC-135, Boeing also works on 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 aircraft in San Antonio.

The "Boom Shop" at Boeing's KC-135 maintenance depot in San Antonio. (Photo by Marcus Weisgerber)

Marcus Weisgerber
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Marcus Weisgerber

Senior Pentagon Correspondent at Defense News
I write about broad-ranging policy, acquisition and budget issues affecting the US military.
Marcus Weisgerber
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