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City Council to look at two aviation-related deals

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, June 1, 2014, at 1:57 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, June 1, 2014, at 2:20 p.m.

Two aviation deals – Bombardier Learjet’s expansion and modernization in Wichita, and a cooperative deal with a Chinese city – will go before the Wichita City Council on Tuesday.

Bombardier Learjet is requesting a letter of intent for up to $52.7 million in industrial revenue bonds. The bond revenue would cover construction and renovation of buildings at One Learjet Way near Kellogg and Tyler, along with purchasing equipment and machinery.

According to city documents, the bond projects include a new paint facility, a customer delivery center and additional equipment – producing 450 new jobs through 2018 at the Wichita plant.

It’s part of a broader project begun in 2011 by Learjet to build centers of excellence in Wichita for all Bombardier programs, including flight testing, engineering and information technology.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said the bond issue – which carries no city liability, since the bonds are sold to private investors – represents the company’s continued commitment to the 2011 expansion.

The other proposed aviation deal is a memorandum of understanding between the city and Shenyang, China, a Chinese center of excellence for general aviation manufacturing as the nation opens its airspace.

City officials think that Shenyang may need the services of Wichita and Kansas companies in a variety of aviation-related areas, including education, training, maintenance and repair, airport management and fixed-base services.

The agreement grows out of the work of Kansas Global Trade Services, a Wichita-based office handling international economic development for the city.

KGTS and the city have opened a Wichita Aviation Office in China to develop aviation-based economic development opportunities, with Brewer making several stops in China to lay the groundwork for that business.

“This is a good catch, and one of the good things about this is it’s just a start,” Brewer said. “We certainly want to be in on the ground floor when their market opens up next year. We want them purchasing planes and services here.”

Over the next few weeks, delegations from Shenyang will be in Wichita to formally sign the agreement, Brewer said. And in August, a Wichita business delegation will travel to China with Brewer to sign the memorandum and begin connecting with various Chinese aviation businesses.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bwilsoneagle.

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