Hawker Beechcraft has reached a formal agreement with the state of Kansas that the Wichita OEM says provides a “significant” incentive for “the company to maintain its presence in Wichita over the next 10 years.” The state’s incentive package requires Hawker Beechcraft to maintain its current product lines in Wichita and retain at least 4,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
Wichita-based Yingling Aviation has opened a maintenance and service facility on Independence Municipal Airport in Independence, Kan. The new 10,000-sq-ft hangar is adjacent to Cessna Aircraft’s manufacturing facility. Lynn Nichols, president and CEO, told AIN that the new Cessna-authorized service facility was jointly funded by the company and the City of Independence but declined to be specific about the cost of the project.
In a letter to Hawker Beechcraft employees on October 22, chairman and CEO Bill Boisture laid out plans for the Wichita OEM’s latest employee cuts, which will affect both salaried employees and management.
Despite a recommendation by the International Association of Machinists executive council to approve the contract offered by Hawker Beechcraft, 55 percent of members voted to reject the proposal last month. A strike vote was not authorized. The current contract remains in effect until it expires in August next year, and negotiations are not likely to reopen before then.
World-class aviation and aerospace training joined world-class research, design, testing and manufacturing in a ceremony Tuesday at the Wichita State University National Institute for Aviation Research booth (No. 1107).
Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft and the machinists union that represents its production workers agreed to reopen contract negotiations tomorrow, with a membership vote now scheduled for October 16, a union spokesman said. This comes on the heels of an agreement reached on Tuesday evening by the company, the union and Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson that would keep the “vast majority” of Hawker Beechcraft jobs in Wichita.
Eighteen years ago, Presidential candidate Ross Perot referred to “a giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs moving south to Mexico. According to union officials in Wichita, “the air capital of the world,” that sucking sound is as real today as it was in 1992, and Mexico appears to remain the destination of choice.
Wichita, which bills itself as the Air Capital of the World, is the leading U.S. city with respect to exports driving gross metropolitan product, according to a Brookings Institute study. Thanks mostly to Bombardier Learjet, Cessna Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft, the city's "aviation cluster" is its main source of exports.
An agreement reached by Bombardier executives and Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson at the Farnborough airshow to secure Wichita as the final assembly location for the Learjet 85 was formalized on July 30. The agreement will retain existing operations and create a minimum of 300 new jobs at the Learjet facility. Bombardier said it will invest a total of $600 million in the Learjet 85 program in Wichita.