City leaders to travel to China, promote Wichita aviation

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WICHITA -- City leaders will soon head to China, and this trip could help solidify the future of Wichita aircraft.

“We want to be the ones that they're actually coming to, not some other country, someplace else...not France, not England,” said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. “We want them to come to the city of Wichita and purchase our planes.”

In August, a group will make a three-city tour to China, including a visit to the Wichita-China Aviation Office. Their goal is to attract people to invest and buy from local companies.

“I think that we're just scratching the surface with China and Asia,” said Wichita Vice Mayor Jeff Blubaugh. “I think 20, 30 years down the road, this will be an excellent move and something we're very happy we took advantage of.”

The recession has left its mark on the aviation community, Brewer said. Yet, he believes this next year could be lucrative for Wichita. China is expected to allow more planes for private and business use. The country has more than 63,000 billionaires, and they should know the Air Capitol is ready to work, Brewer said.

In years past, visits of this nature have paid off, Brewer said. The council and community leaders visited a sister city in Mexico. One company found instant success.

“We went there, and five days that we were actually there, one of our businesses came home with a $5 million contract,” he said.

That contract landed JR Custom Metal Products even more work. By being proactive, Brewer expects to achieve the same for other companies.

“We're responsible for going out and seeing what we can do to help our businesses grow, and when we help our businesses grow, we create more jobs,” Brewer said. “When we create more jobs, we're taking care of more families.”

The trip is expected to cost about $35,000. It will be paid with the city's economic development fund.


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