By: David Mildenberg
January 9, 2012
Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) — Bombardier Inc. will hire another 400 workers in Wichita, Kansas, in exchange for state and local incentives, a Sedgwick County official said, offsetting some of the losses from Boeing Co.’s planned shutdown in the city.
Kansas officials plan to announce $16 million of incentives for Bombardier at a news briefing tomorrow, Dave Unruh, chairman of the county’s Board of Commissioners, said in an interview. The news follows Boeing’s decision to bolt from Wichita, where its 80-year-old operation employs 2,160, by the end of 2013.
“It’s very positive news for Wichita,” said Unruh. “It shows the attractiveness of our region.” Wichita is the seat of Sedgwick County.
Bombardier fired 820 workers from its Learjet division in Wichita in 2009, or about a quarter of the workforce, as sales of corporate aircraft slumped during the recession. The Montreal-based maker of rail cars and aircraft plans to add 1,050 jobs in the city over about a decade under a 2010 agreement to build a new business jet there, said Patrick Botter, a spokesman.
The Learjet unit has filled 400 of those jobs, bringing employment to 2,822 in the city, which bills itself as the “Air Capital of the World.”
Dan Lara, a spokesman for the Kansas Commerce Department, declined to comment.
Wichita may lose another 800 aerospace jobs if Hawker Beechcraft Corp. fails to overturn a U.S. Air Force contract award to Embraer SA and Sierra Nevada Corp. The $355 million order for a light attack aircraft would support 1,400 jobs, according U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican.
About 800 of those jobs are in Wichita, according to Bill Boisture, chief executive officer of Hawker Beechcraft, based in the city. The company sued to block last month’s award to Sierra Nevada and Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft maker.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek