Spirit AeroSystems [NYSE: SPR] today announced plans for major expansion and growth, including the addition of 1,000 jobs and capital investments totaling $1 billion over the next five years at its Wichita, Kan., facility. The growth is fueled by a number of factors: increasing production rates on existing commercial aircraft programs, growth in Spirit's Fabrication and Defense businesses and other new business pursuits. The announcement solidifies Spirit's presence in Wichita and Kansas for decades to come.
"Wichita is our headquarters and the hub of our operations," said Spirit President and CEO Tom Gentile. "Our workforce is unparalleled, with generations of aircraft employees who have worked in our plant. And now future generations will have those same opportunities. We are proud to partner with the city, county and state to bring new jobs and investment to the community and help ensure Wichita remains the Air Capital of the World."
"For years Kansas has played a powerful role in the global aviation industry, and today's announcement ensures that we will continue to do so for years to come," said Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. "Spirit AeroSystems' $1 billion investment marks one of the largest economic development projects in Kansas history and will result in great career opportunities for over a thousand Kansans. I am thrilled that we were able to bring this project to fruition with our incredible partners at Spirit, and I look forward to seeing the impact their investment will have both on Wichita and the state as a whole."
"These are high-paying, highly coveted aviation jobs," said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. "They will pump billions of dollars into our local economy over the next decade and beyond. Spirit is a great company, a wonderful community steward, and we worked very collaboratively to ensure they chose Wichita for this expansion."
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city and Sedgwick County includes joint investment in a new building to be constructed on the north side of Spirit's property. The completion of the transactions contemplated by the MOU is contingent on approval by the Wichita City Council and the Sedgwick County Commission and the execution of definitive agreements between the parties.
"We are excited to work with Spirit on this project for our community. It's a tremendous win for Sedgwick County and all of us in south-central Kansas, including the dozens of aviation suppliers here," said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Dave Unruh. "It is further validation of the county's investment in the National Center for Aviation Training more than a decade ago as this community is uniquely equipped to help Spirit tackle the demands for a ramp-up of this magnitude."
The majority of the new job creation will be in the hourly ranks, including skilled sheet metal mechanics, composite technicians and CNC machine operators.
"Spirit is a global company with sites across the world, and we will continue to grow where it makes sense for the business. We have deep roots in Wichita, and we are here for the long-haul," Gentile said.