Wichita Aircraft manufacturers urged visiting congressmen Friday to help the ailing industry by providing tax incentives, such as accelerated depreciation of aircraft, to spur sales of general aviation planes.
Nine members of a House aviation subcommittee were in Wichita Friday for a private tour of Raytheon Co. and Cessna Aircraft Co.'s aircraft plants. Among them were Kansas Republican Reps. Jerry Moran, a member of the subcommittee, and Todd Tiahrt.
"A lot of focus in Washington, D.C., since Sept. 11 of 2001 has been on the commercial side of aviation. We do not want general aviation to be forgotten," said Tiahrt, whose district includes aviation-dependent Wichita.
"It is clear when you talk to employees, when you walk through the lines and visit with the business executives at the aircraft industry here in Wichita, the consequences of Sept. 11, (the) declining economy and world competition have a huge effect not only in Wichita but on the entire state of Kansas," Tiahrt said.
Tiahrt said it was important other members of Congress see the trials the aviation industry is facing in Wichita.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for them to see firsthand how the technology works, how dedicated aviation workers are and what troubles we are going through," Tiahrt said.
The subcommittee's fact-finding tour comes as Congress considers legislation setting policy for commercial and general aviation. The tour was closed to the media, but the group spoke with reporters afterward.
"We have all been affected nationally, but this area -- because it has such a tremendous concentration of aviation manufacturing -- has been particularly hard hit," said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.