Textron to hire 1,000 aircraft workers this year as Cessna, Beechcraft brands rebound

The president and CEO of Textron Aviation told customers and suppliers Tuesday that the company plans to hire 1,000 people this year, to fill new jobs and replace retirees, a spokeswoman has confirmed.

Ron Draper, chief of the company that manufactures Cessna, Hawker and Beechcraft planes, announced the hiring push in a speech at a customer conference at the company’s Wichita headquarters. About 600 customers and vendors attended the annual event.

The trade journal Aviation International News quoted Draper as saying “We hired 1,000 people last year and we’re probably going to have to hire another 1,000 this year, and that’s great.

“Some of that is replacing retirements, but most of that is growth. It makes our employees feel like we’re winning again after a number of difficult years.”

Draper attributed the growth to an improving market for its Cessna and Beechcraft product lines.

Rachel Williams, communications manager for Textron, confirmed the comments reported by AIN.

She said it was not yet known how the jobs would be distributed between Textron plants.

But the bulk of the company’s workforce is based in Wichita — 9,500 of the company’s total 12,000 employees — so it is likely that much of the job growth will take place here, she said.

Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.