Kansas Keeps Bombardier In Wichita

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The State of Kansas has ensured Bombardier's Lear 85 composite business jet will be assembled, painted and prepared for customers in Wichita by lending the Canadian planemaker $27 million in bond financing to build the facilities necessary to carry out the work. The new facilities will support 600 jobs, of which 300 will be new hires. As part of the deal, Bombardier can't shift any existing plant functions or the new ones from Wichita for the life of the bond. "We've tied the $27 million in incentives not just to the new jobs, but to keeping those operations here," Gov. Mark Parkinson said. Under the deal, income tax collected from employees will be used to pay back the loan, rather than going into general revenue. The fuselage for the Lear 85 will be made in Mexico and shipped to Wichita for final assembly, paint and customer prep.

Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Jets, said that while the company looked at other proposals for finishing Lear 85s, Wichita had the inside track and the bond financing was an extra incentive. "We wanted to build the airplane here," Ridolfi said. "Wichita was our first choice." Bombardier will build a total of 131,500 square feet of buildings to house the various functions and construction on the first phase, the expansion of the final assembly building will begin shortly in anticipation of the first aircraft assembly beginning early next year.