When the deal for a new Learjet 85 plant in Wichita was announced in July 2010, then-Gov. Mark Parkinson, Mayor Carl Brewer and hundreds of company officials and workers celebrated at a festive news conference at a Learjet hangar.
Thursday, the company announced that it had put the airplane on hold and would lay off 1,000 workers, including 620 in Wichita.
Parkinson said, at the time, that the state would provide about $27 million in bond financing in exchange for a company pledge to create 600 net new jobs and to keep all existing operations in Wichita during the life of the bonds.
The Learjet 85 project included a 28,000-square-foot expansion of the final-assembly facility to prepare for the first parts, a 49,000-square-foot flight test building, a 33,000-square-foot paint facility and a 21,500-square-foot customer delivery center.
Kansas Department of Commerce spokesman Matt Keith said Thursday that the state is reviewing the agreement and couldn’t comment any further on whether the company’s “pause” in the Learjet 85 program violated terms of the deal.
The company approached state officials again in 2011 to expand flight testing and move company engineering and information technology functions to Wichita. Those projects were described by city officials Thursday as unrelated to the Learjet 85 program.
The company, the state, Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita ultimately agreed on a project costing about $50 million and adding three new buildings and a net 450 jobs. In return, the state contributed $6 million in bonds, while the city and county governments each contributed $1 million to remove and rebuild parking lots. The company would continue to lease the new parking lots from the Wichita Airport Authority. The incentives also include property tax abatements.
Through the first three years of the second project, Bombardier has exceeded its job creation and capital spending mandates, said city economic development analyst Tim Goodpasture.