Summit Aims To Expand Kansas Aviation Sector

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Aircraft maker Airbus is reaching out to Kansas aviation suppliers with a Wichita event called the Air Capital Supplier Summit.

Monday's event was hosted by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and Airbus Americas chairman Allan McArtor. It comes just months after the aircraft maker's biggest competitor, Boeing, announced plans to close its defense plant in Wichita.

The conference was designed to increase business between Kansas companies and Airbus. More than 200 representatives from 114 companies met with Airbus representatives at the National Center for Aviation Training.

Moran says he is excited about the potential for new business in a struggling aviation industry in the state.

"The good news is Airbus is interested in expanding their procurement in the United States," said Moran. "We want to make sure they look to Kansas, they look to Wichita for a significant component of that increase."

Airbus' presence in Kansas goes beyond its engineering center in Old Town that employs about 350. Local machine shops have made parts for the planemaker for years.

McArtor says the company wants to double the money it spends on parts and other supplies going into its planes from $12 billion a year to $24 billion a year. That increase in business is expected to lead to many new jobs.

"The message is that we are aggressively recruiting, training, qualifying U.S. based suppliers for our advanced aircraft programs," said McArtor.

Organizers say the turnout for this conference was so successful that they are already hoping to have a second one in the near future.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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