Hawker Beechcraft To Stay In Wichita

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Hawker Beechcraft Corporation announced on Tuesday that it has reached a formal agreement with the Kansas state government to stay in Wichita for another 10 years. In return for a $40 million incentive package, the company said it will maintain its current product lines in Wichita and retain at least 4,000 jobs through 2020. "Today's announcement marks a key point in the future of Hawker Beechcraft," said CEO Bill Boisture. "With the acceptance of this agreement, we are committing to be successful as a Wichita, Kansas, and U.S.-based private company and preserving a valued American industry in tomorrow's aviation markets. ... We intend to have the best-trained work force in the industry." The company's future in Wichita had recently been in doubt as it considered an offer to move to Louisiana.

"Hawker is here to stay," said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, at a news conference announcing the plan. The package includes $10 million over three years for tuition reimbursement and training for workers. Hawker Beechcraft also will receive $10 million in the first year, followed by $5 million each year for the next four years, for expenses such as the purchase or relocation of equipment, product development, labor recruitment, or building costs. The money will come from the withholding taxes of employees at the company. "This is not a huge bailout," Parkinson said. Hawker will have to pay penalties if it fails to maintain promised employee levels. Hawker Beechcraft also operates in Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark.; Chester, England, U.K.; and Chihuahua, Mexico.