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Bombardier, Cessna to seek bond deals from city for expansion projects

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, July 1, 2012, at 9:02 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, July 1, 2012, at 11:07 p.m.

Two of the city’s major plane manufacturers will appear before the Wichita City Council on Tuesday seeking bond authority for expansion plans.

Bombardier Learjet and Cessna Aircraft will seek industrial revenue bond deals for 2012 expansion projects, with Bombardier focusing on its Center of Excellence in aerospace engineering and information technology, and the expansion of the Bombardier Test Flight Center.

It’s a continuation of the city’s partnership with two thriving planemakers, said City Manager Robert Layton.

“The aviation cluster is the most important economic development driver for this community, and the fact that Bombardier and Cessna are in growth mode speaks volumes for the benefits to our economy,” Layton said. “They’re both extremely vital to us.”

“These companies could do what they do elsewhere,” Mayor Carl Brewer said. “We’re fortunate they’ve decided to build in the city ... and we want to maintain our partnerships with them.”

Layton said Bombardier’s expansion work actually broadens Wichita’s aviation base.

“Their most recent work actually diversifies us within the aviation cluster with their emphasis on engineering and IT, and not just manufacturing,” he said.

Bombardier Learjet is requesting IRBs in an amount not to exceed $5.9 million to finance its capital investments in the first half of this year. Included are building improvements and additions to existing aviation manufacturing and flight testing facilities, and the acquisition of machinery and equipment.

Cessna is seeking the reinstatement of a 2006 $800 million letter of intent that has an unused balance of a little more than $521 million. Proceeds from this issue have been used for building improvements, furniture, fixtures and tooling in the expansion of Cessna’s Wichita facilities. Included have been technology and manufacturing equipment to accommodate increased personnel and space to build four business jets here.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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