Spirit AeroSystems looks to the future with Wichita expansion

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Spirit AeroSystems has announced a major expansion.

They’ve promised 1,000 new jobs and $1 billion in capital investment over the next five years.

“This is our headquarters, our hub of operations, literally generations of people in Wichita have had been workers here, many families which have had three, even four generations of workers here,” said Tom Gentile, CEO of Spirit AeroSystems. “And, now we’ll have future generations here as well.”

There was applause Wednesday as Spirit AeroSystems made a huge announcement that they’re expanding.

It’s news that Sedgwick County Commissioners Chairman Dave Unruh is happy about.

“Spirit AeroSystems is the largest employer in our county and they’re the second largest taxpayer in our county,” he said. “And, these certain types of opportunities to either grow here or allow them to leave are important decisions.”

The main addition will be new jobs.

“It’s not just 1,000 jobs,” said Jeff Longwell, mayor of Wichita. “1,000 jobs is all Spirit gets credit for. But, we can guarantee you historically it’s about a three-to-one multiplier. They don’t get credit for that multiplier. But, we know it’s going to happen.”

Some of those employees will be working in existing facilities.

Others will be in a new $17 million building that will be added to the north side of the campus.

$14.5 million will be paid by the city and county.

“As we think about the next phase of our development,” said Gentile. “We have to grow, means we have to build.”

He says they hope to have the groundbreaking in June 2018.