Boeing will not decide until early next year whether to sell its commercial airplane operations in Kansas and Oklahoma, company officials told employees yesterday. In a brief e-mail...

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WICHITA, Kan. — Boeing will not decide until early next year whether to sell its commercial airplane operations in Kansas and Oklahoma, company officials told employees yesterday.


In a brief e-mail to workers from Jeff Turner, general manager of Boeing’s Wichita operations, and other top officials, the company said it had planned to make a decision by the end of this year.


“The process is very complex, though, and Boeing wants to be sure that all aspects of this decision are considered,” the e-mail said. “We now expect a decision early in 2005.”


Boeing announced earlier this year it was considering selling its commercial aviation plants in Wichita, and Tulsa and McAlester, Okla. Boeing employs about 8,400 workers at the three locations, 7,100 of them in Wichita. Boeing’s defense business in Wichita, and its 3,400 workers, are not part of the sale.


A December announcement had been widely anticipated since October, when Boeing Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher said the company was reviewing bids and probably would make a decision by the end of 2004.


British firm GKN — long believed to be the most likely buyer — said last month it had pulled out of negotiations. Other potential buyers whose names have surfaced in speculation by industry analysts and union officials include Dallas-based Vought Aircraft Industries and its parent, The Carlyle Group, an investment firm based in Washington, D.C.; and the Canadian investment group Onex.