Spirit AeroSystems to add 1,000 new jobs over 5 years

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -

Spirit AeroSystems plans a $1 billion expansion of its manufacturing facility in Kansas and the addition of 1,000 new jobs.

The project announced Wednesday includes capital investments at its Wichita plant site over the next five years.

Spirit Chief Executive Officer Tom Gentile said the company's growth is fueled by higher production rates on existing commercial aircraft as well as the increase in its fabrication and defense business.

"Wichita is our headquarters and the hub of our operations," said Gentile in a news release. "Our workforce is unparalleled, with generations of aircraft employees who have worked in our plant. And now future generations will have those same opportunities. We are proud to partner with the city, county and state to bring new jobs and investment to the community and help ensure Wichita remains the Air Capital of the World."

Plans call for hiring 800 new employees by the end of 2018 and 200 more the following year for jobs. The hourly jobs are estimated to pay around $56,000 annually. The company anticipates to be hiring sheet metal workers, mechanics, composite technicians and machine operators.

"Already this year, Spirit has hired 350 workers. With the addition of 1,000 more jobs and a billion dollars to be invested, the ripple effects would include thousands of additional jobs for our community through increased work for our aviation suppliers, in construction and retail and in every part of our community," said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell in a news release. "Not only that, but the city's investment in infrastructure is investment which would stay in our community and benefit everyone."

The Wichita City Council and Sedgwick County Commission will vote on providing an investment of up to $14.5-million for joint ownership in a building and other required infrastructure needs.

The project is the culmination of economic development deal involving city, county and state officials.

Watch the full announcements here

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