City officials say aviation industry headed in positive direction
August 29, 2015
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  • Wichita’s first Air Capital Aviation Expo wrapped up Saturday afternoon.

    Organizers were expecting more than a thousand people to turn out for the three day event.

    The expo allowed aerospace manufacturers and suppliers from around the world the opportunity to showcase their services all under one roof.

    “Gives you the opportunity to talk to a lot of your current suppliers in addition to perspective customers,” said Richard Heil with Lee Aerospace.

    City Councilman James Clendenin says holding an event like this shows the aviation industry is pretty confident in its long-term growth.

    “We’ve seen Spirit hire 400 people recently or have 400 openings, we have Textron steadily hiring people,” said Clendenin.

    Clendenin says the industry took a major hit back in 2008 and 2009 during the recession.

    He says general aviation may never return to where it once was, but its beginning to really take off.

    “Commercial aviation is really picking up and I think that’s really going to be probably the main focus of a lot of our companies here,” said Clendenin.

    While the aviation has been a focal point in the wichita economy, KSN asked Clendenin has the city relied too much on aviation for the overall success of the local economy?

    “We’re awful reliant on the aviation industry, but I don’t want to say too reliant, I think we need to maintain our support of the aviation industry, we are the Air Capital of the world, we will stay the Air Capital of the world, we’ll do everything we possibly can to maintain that title,” said Clendenin.

    Clendenin also stressed the important role the success of the aviation industry plays in exports for the city of Wichita, saying that Wichita is over 20 percent dependent on exports, which aviation is a huge part of.