Archive for Thursday, November 8, 2001

Cessna plans to build service center in Wichita

November 8, 2001


— Saying it had confidence in the future of the company and the country, Cessna Aircraft announced plans Wednesday to build a $60 million Citation service center in Wichita.

Cessna Chairman Gary Hay said the country was by most definitions in a recession, and other airplane manufacturers were holding off on expansions.

"We have chosen at Cessna to take a different course of action," he said. "We are concerned if everyone waits to see what will happen nothing will happen."

The service center would employ 1,200 workers, including at least 500 in new jobs. It would be twice the size of the firm's current Wichita service center, which would be converted to an aircraft completion center for the new Citation Sovereign employing another 300 people in those jobs.

The project also would include runway and road improvements and other infrastructure at a price of $100 million. Economic development financing from the state, county and city will pitch in $40 million of the cost, Hay said.

Gov. Bill Graves said Cessna may have been able to get a better government incentive package elsewhere, particularly given the current economic climate.

Cessna has been the lone holdout in announcing job cuts in Wichita since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Cessna employs 11,300 people in Wichita, where it builds Citation business jets and Caravan turboprops.

The company announced two weeks ago that it would lay off 175 workers at its Independence plant where it builds single-engine piston airplanes, but no job cuts were expected in Wichita because of the backlog of orders.

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