HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) -- After 60 years, the last corporate jet connected to Dillons Stores or its parent company, Kroger, has flown away from Hutchinson.
The Learjet 35 left Hutchinson Municipal Airport Thursday on the way to Kroger's corporate base in Cincinnati, where it will be sold.
Dillons was founded in Hutchinson and began flying its own planes out of the city shortly after World War II, in order to allow the grocery store chain's executives to continue living there.
The Hutchinson News reports Kroger, which merged with Dillons in 1983, decided to close the aviation division to reduce operating expenses. Three pilots and a mechanic were laid off.
Hutchinson Airport Director Pieter Miller says Dillons Stores' airplane program had a major role in building many of the hangars at the airport.