Commercial aviation is booming, general aviation is returning and leading edge indicators across the industry point to good years ahead for aviation.
And that means good years for the Air Capital.
That was among the key takeaways from a WBJ panel discussion Tuesday morning with local aviation leaders at the National Center for Aviation Training.
Panelists included John O’Leary, of Arbus Americas Engineering; Brad Vieux, of Global Parts Group; Matt Bell, of LakePoint Aviation; and Don McGinty, of McGinty Machine Co.
While each saw challenges that remain both to their individual businesses and the industry as a whole, they also see Wichita as being in an age of stability and opportunity when it comes to aviation.
The industry and the technology that drives it will change as it cycles, and education and innovation will be key to making sure Wichita keeps it place in the global aviation market.
The Air Capital should also look at ways it can diversify itself within the industry, such as bringing more engine and avionics work to town, or possibly even commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work.
But, at least for now, the days of scrambling just to find work are gone. And while there must be caution not to extend too far in what remains a cyclical industry, the panelists all agreed that aviation is a market on the upswing.
How Wichita takes advantage of that will determine if it remains the Air Capital of the World in the future.
Check out the weekly edition of the Wichita Business Journal on Friday for much more on what the panelists had to say about the state of the industry and what it means for south-central Kansas.